Newbury Racecourse

Remediation of land at Newbury racecourse ready for future development into a residential area.

Newbury Racecourse

Part of Newbury Racecourse is being redeveloped by David Wilson Homes over a planned 10 year period to provide approximately 1500 new homes across three areas of land at the racecourse, known as the Western, Central and Eastern sites. We were appointed by David Wilson Homes to remediate up to 50,000m3 of land ready for building work to commence.

Historic use shapes the site

The site was developed as a racecourse in 1905 before being used by the military during both World Wars. During World War 1 it was used as a training camp, tank repair depot and prisoner of war camp. During World War 2 the site was used by the military as a logistics depot, including numerous structures and a rail marshalling yard.

The depot construction involved the extraction of gravel from two borrow pits, one of which, designated as Borrow Pit 1, was situated within the eastern section of the site. Following the end of the war and the military’s use of the site, the area was returned to racing in 1949 and Borrow Pit 1 was filled with arisings from the former military base between 1948 and 1950.

Our role and the site challenges

It was this Borrow Pit that we have remediated to ensure that a chemically and geotechnically suitable area was ready for the development of the new homes on the site. The proposed redevelopment of the area will comprise residential dwellings constructed on piled foundations together with adoptable roads, infrastructure, gardens and open space.

The primary risk drivers concerning remediation works were the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and unacceptable contamination within the backfill material. On this basis, the remedial strategy required that Made Ground was removed, sorted, screened as necessary and tested before being replaced as general fill in accordance with the remedial strategy and geotechnical design.

Our approach

As a way of reducing the earthworks duration, we proposed an alternative method of compaction and utilised High Energy Impact Compaction (HEIC) using a Bomag BW 226 Impact Roller to meet the compaction specifications. This compaction method allowed an increased layer thickness to be used (in the order of 1m-1.5m) as well as Continuous Compaction Control (CCC) to be undertaken. A series of trials were undertaken alongside the works in order to correlate the output of the compaction equipment with traditional means of compaction control.

The remediation works were completed in August 2016 and the result of the works was to allow David Wilson Homes to use the site for residential purposes. In addition, the works met statutory planning conditions whilst delivering a site that met the required site levels and geotechnical specification to enable their ground worker contractor to complete the next phases of the development.