RSK Group is a multidisciplinary environmental and engineering consultancy offering a broad spectrum of integrated built heritage services:
Tower Hamlets EIA Review Framework
Project location: Various sites throughout the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Client Type: local Authority
Type of Project: Conservation Planning Advice
Since 2016 RSK has provided ongoing specialist built heritage (conservation planning) advice to a consortium which undertakes reviews of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). The assessments primarily relate to very large schemes, comprising multi-phase high-rise residential and mixed-use developments in and around the dockland area of Canary Wharf, but also include major developments of a similar nature elsewhere in the borough.
Tower Hamlets is located in East London and encompasses the Isle of Dogs, Spitalfields, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green and Bow. There are 58 Conservation Areas and a large number of listed buildings (including the Tower of London and Tower Bridge) reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the borough. The borough contains the Tower of London and Island Gardens World Heritage Sites and falls within the setting of Maritime Greenwich WHS and a number of key views protected in London's View Management Framework.
The purpose of RSK's involvement is to provide the local authority with a formal assessment regarding whether submitted Environmental Statements are compliant with current EIA Regulations, have taken due account of the local authority's scoping opinions and consultation responses from the statutory consultees, and that baseline information and conclusions are accurate and framed with reference to the appropriate policy, legislation and guidance.
In relation to built heritage the reviews consider the quality of submitted supporting planning documentation, including associated appendices and non-technical summaries, and any subsequent addenda. Where information is deficient RSK identifies clarifications that are required to be answered by the applicant, and any potential Regulation 22 requests for further information (Regulation 25 under the 2017 EIA Regs). This requires a detailed knowledge of the EIA Regulations, legislation, regional and local planning policies, as well as an understanding of the environment and built heritage of the borough and the guidance relevant to significance, protected views, tall buildings and setting.
Where applicants return supplementary information to address the clarifications or Regulation 22 requests, RSK advises on the acceptability of this information and makes any relevant further recommendations to the planning authority.
Through this framework RSK has also represented LBTH in relation to built heritage matters at a planning hearing in March 2018, and undertakes additional tasks including input to quarterly policy and guidance updates for the borough, and looking at potential opportunities for the delivery of training and CPD events.
Crossrall: Old Oak Common and Paddington Approaches, Intercity Express Programme and Crossrail Anglia - Conservation and Archaeology Services
Project Location: Paddington Station and Peripheral Sites
Client Type: Infrastructure Contractor
Type of Project: Consultancy, Conservation Advice, Heritage Statements, Design and Access Statements, Listed Building Consent, Historical Research, Archaeological Mitigation
RSK was commissioned by Carillion to support Network Rail on the Crossrail and Intercity Express Programme (IEP) projects through provision of built heritage and archaeological services at Paddington Station, Westminster, and sites within the Old Oak Common/Paddington Approaches (OOCPA) and Anglia sections of the Crossrail project.
In relation to Paddington Station, the suite of services offered during 2017-2018 has included review of detailed designs for the installation of overhead line equipment and screening within the Grade I listed station, alterations to lighting, footbridges, platform canopies and platform structures. Heritage statements and design and access statements have been prepared in support of listed building consent applications for the works, with attendance at meetings between Network Rail and the Conservation & Design team at Westminster City Council to discuss upcoming schemes. In each case it has been necessary to consider the proposals in light of existing and emerging British and European rail safety standards as well as the particular significance of structures within the station and the contribution that they make to the overall significance of Paddington.
RSK has also advised on the potential archaeological impacts of track lowering/ realignment and drainage works on the approach to Paddington Station, specifically with reference to early Brunel/GWR structures including the original timber-built GWR terminus and later engine sheds lying to the west of the current station. RSK prepared written schemes of investigation and undertook watching briefs, recording, post-excavation historical research and reporting on structures that were encountered.
Further work as part of the Crossrail Anglia scheme has included historic building recording at Harold Wood Station, desk based assessments for Shenfield, Harold Wood and Brentwood stations, and archaeological investigation of land for a road/rail interchange at Officers Meadow, Essex.
Haughton Road Engine Shed, Darlington
Project location: Darlington
Client Type: Property Developer
Type of Project: Heritage Statements, listed Building Consent Applications, Historic Building Recording
Haughton Road Engine Shed is a Grade II listed building located at the junction of the former Great North East Railway (GNER, now the East Coast Mainline) and the Stockton & Darlington Railway. It is a very early example of engine shed development, built in around 1841 to the designs of the GNER's chief architect GT Andrews, who drew inspiration for functional buildings on the railway network from the model farms of the late 18th and early 19th century and particularly the work of Sir John Soane.
The building had been operational as an engine shed until the 1960s, then reused as a workshop with alterations to the windows, engine openings and roof coverings, prior to falling into dereliction by the end of the 20th century.
RSK was engaged by an affordable housing developer to consult with the local conservation officer and prepare a detailed assessment of the building's evolution and significance, its relationship to the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the contribution of its setting in order to support an application for listed building consent for its repair and conversion to residential use. Recommendations were made for the retention of structural features, and the report incorporated feedback on the proposal from the Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the results of archaeological investigation immediately adjacent to the building.
Listed building consent was granted in 2016 and RSK subsequently prepared a Level 3 historic building record of the exterior and interior of the building as required by a condition of consent. The record included archival research, alongside a high resolution photographic record and plans/elevations and sections drawn using a combination of measured survey for window and door details (tapes and distometer) and ortho-rectified photography including the rail-side elevation which was difficult to access.
In 2017 RSK carried out a further heritage assessment, specifically in relation to the fabric of the roof, following specialist assessment of condition of the timber roof trusses. The assessment supported a further listed building consent application which was also granted.
Name: Laurence Hayes
Job title: Principal Consultant, Archaeology and Built Heritage
Tel: 07587 039762
Historic Building conservation YES
Conservation planning YES
Architectural design and new build in historic areas
Historical research YES
Historic area assessments YES
Project Management YES
Materials and Structural Analysis
Roped and Confined Space Access
Structural Geophysics and Surveying
Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment
Archaeological Site Investigation
© HESPR: Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition is managed by IHBC Enterprises, which supports the work of the IHBC