Since our inception we have always had an interest in land and development and we have been lucky enough to work on some of the largest regeneration schemes in Wales. From this experience, we’ve naturally progressed into managing our own portfolio of residential, leisure, mixed use and renewable energy developments.
All of this growth stemmed from the experience we’ve gained in helping other developers appraise their own sites and get through the minefield of planning. Once on site, we deliver the civil engineering in house, working with major stakeholders and statutory bodies like Local Authorities, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency and local community interest groups.
Our development arm is the part of our company where almost every aspect of the group comes together. Our strong financial standing and civil engineering expertise allows us to consider large high risk brownfield sites that others would pass on. We are experts at taking a site from a field, or former industrial site, right through to a new built environment, whether we hand the keys of a ready-to-build site to the developer – or continue on and finish the development ourselves
Our renewable energy development division, Pennant Walters, was created to build on these strengths and push forward the sustainable use of the substantial (over 50,000 acres) land bank that Walters Group has amassed.
Whether working with primary developers or undertaking our own end to end projects, we are uniquely positioned to get involved with every phase of the construction process. By really understanding the stages of a development (and their place in the overall process), we can maintain momentum and minimise wasteful downtime. From the initial feasibility studies, through outline and business planning, before moving to land purchase and formal planning permission – we have it covered. Unusually, we can also handle demolition, remediation, earthworks, infrastructure and preparatory groundworks with all the resources to do so already exist in-house.
As we’ve accrued a vast bank of experience and knowledge in dealing with remediation in particular, we’ve built up expertise in making previous “brownfield” sites ready to sustain development and future healthy occupation. Former industrial, mining and even chemical sites have been successfully returned to productive use by employing a range of techniques including physical, thermal, biological and chemical treatment. We also try and maximise the recovery of on-site materials for re-use, crushing concrete rubble for hardcore etc. Over the years we’ve repeatedly proven that no project is too challenging, by meeting strict environmental and safety sign-off standards on every site we’ve handled.
Complimenting these credentials, we’ve also undertaken site works which include natural habitat protection, watercourse erosion protection and even creating wildlife ponds and wetlands. Utilising the same principles that we employ for remediation, we can manage and minimise erosion and maximise ground stabilisation employing both geosynthetic and biodegradable products.. Our “green” credentials have even extended to the provision of new and improved habitat for fauna and flora alike.
The specialist residential development arm of Walters exists to benefit from the track record of delivering development led projects throughout our history and our strong financial position affording us opportunity to fund and plan long term schemes done in the right way. We have for some time worked collaboratively with house, developers and social housing providers to plan and deliver development projects. Our own development schemes enable us to utilise our skills with all aspects of the scoping, planning, remediation, environmental and delivery phases, whilst exploiting our vast experience in civil engineering from designing to delivering major infrastructure projects.
Our first foray into residential development came at CastleGate in Caerphilly. In December 2002, Walters Land purchased approximately 60 acres of brownfield land there. Between 1947 and the late 1970’s the site was used to landfill a wide range of materials including colliery spoil, ash from power stations, quarry and chemical wastes, plus other deposits such as rubber, glass and paper. A robust remediation strategy was designed to ensure that the site would be rendered fit and safe for residential and commercial development. Once we completed the required site remediation and reclamation works, new roads and services were built to accommodate the proposed mixed use development, known as Castlegate. The pioneering development includes an in-ground gas and vapour barrier, one of the first UK developments ever to have such a bespoke designed/constructed system.
To date well over 500 residential units have been built by Bellway Homes, Persimmon Homes and Llanmoor Homes. In addition to the housing, there are successful commercial properties, large areas of public open spaces and playing fields. The Castlegate development has been a great success, giving the new residents a community in which people can enjoy living, working and using the surrounding open spaces and nearby amenities.
Hot on the heels of our success in Caerphilly, we embarked on an even more ambitious reclamation and development scheme at Ffos Las near Trimsaran. Formerly the site of one of Europe’s largest open cast coal mines, it had been loosely backfilled and was effectively a brownfield industrial site. We completed a detailed site survey and environmental study, then proposed a unique solution, the UK’s first purpose built Horseracing course since 1927, coupled with a combination of residential and mixed use infrastructure. The racecourse opened for business in 2009 after an accelerated 2 year combined reclamation/development programme and continues to build on its success. Persimmon Homes have sold the first 250 residential units on this unique site and planning has just been obtained for a further 250.
Building on our brownfield experience, in 2012 we acquired 100 acres of former Aluminium factory land in Rogerstone, Gwent. An industrial site for over 200 years, with copper, iron, steel and aluminium having been made there, it presented a number of site contamination issues. Adjacent to the River Ebbw, initially we had to minimise run-off and maximise effective site drainage to minimise impact. Following a detailed and comprehensive site survey and environmental remediation plan, work was commenced and by 2015 the site was ready to accommodate the first of some 1,000 planned residential units and accompanying infrastructure.
The latest addition to our development portfolio is in Avonmouth where we are constructing a mixed use development compromising a new South West office, workshop, storage and stand by energy generation. Constructed on a former chemical works in an area renowned for its contamination, we are bringing our entire portfolio of expertise to ensure the success of this development.
Walters are always interested in new development opportunities. Should you have a site that you consider suitable for our development division to consider, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Pennant Walters was created to push forward the sustainable use of the substantial 50,000 acre land bank that Walters has amassed within Wales since its inception. It’s since become a cornerstone of the group, focusing on generating “green” power from wind, solar, hydro and biomass technologies. Over recent years it’s become an increasing priority to reuse and repurpose our assets, to make the most of the natural resources at our disposal and of course to provide good economic returns on our investment. We currently provide 112MW of “clean” electricity generation at 7 schemes across Wales, with further extensions, planning consents and new developments pending for another 11 sites at present.
With the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments committed to increasing the amount of renewable energy produced, we seized upon the opportunity to get involved. We had the finance, land and Civil Engineering expertise to deliver economically viable solutions. In Wales, we have a target of generating 7 TWh (Tera Watt Hours) of the electricity we use via renewable energy by 2020. We brought to bear our vast experience, partnering with Local Authorities and other national statutory bodies, to establish new and innovative civil engineering projects to develop the sustainable energy market.
The six fully operational sites in South Wales currently provide over 100Mw of clean energy to the national grid from Wind and Solar power, sufficient to power some 50,000 homes. In fact at our first operational site, Maesgwyn, we’ve recently developed a secondary solar generation plant and have planning consent for a further Biomass plant, utilising wood pellets from the extensive forestry plantation that covers the whole site. With an additional generating capacity of 164 MW when our upcoming developments Wales and South West England come on line, we’re poised to more than double our output in the coming years.
Pennant Walters brings together our substantial experience in civil engineering to ensure the supporting infrastructure required for a major wind generation facility is delivered successfully. This usually incorporates new access and maintenance roads, drainage, land stabilisation and a lot of plant to accomplish this. All of these disciplines are encompassed within the expertise of Walters.
All of the sites we currently operate, have required substantial planning considerations and environmental scoping studies. Our ability to fulfil all the specified criteria while the land is under development, then satisfy extensive environmental considerations during the working lifecycle of such installations, speaks volumes about the care, consultation and consideration we deliver with all of our projects.
A brief overview of the Company can be found at www.pennantwalters.co.uk where there are more detailed profiles of our various sites and planned installations, plus projections for future electricity output.