Jackfield Stabilisation Project update

Telford & Wrekin Council is continuing its work to manage the issue of land instability in and around the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

Jackfield Stabilisation Project update

Most recently work has been concentrated in Jackfield, between the Tile Museum and the Boat Inn, an area that has suffered significant landslides in the past.

The Jackfield Stabilisation Project has now reached the stage where surveys and investigations are complete, the detailed design has been prepared and a planning application has been lodged.

The proposed scheme looks to stabilise the most active part of the local landslide system to allow a new highway to be constructed on the stabilised ground.

Four drop-in sessions have taken place to date to allow stakeholders to view the developing proposals and to comment on the outputs and the results from the surveys and investigations. The last event was held on 9 July at Jackfield Village Hall where over 50 people attended, with nearly 250 people attending in total over the four events.

A further drop-in session will be held on 11 September to present the planning application package and to advise on expected next steps.

The various surveys and investigations carried out to inform the design process has included monitoring existing instrumentation, undertaking topographical surveys, ecological surveys, river mapping and ground investigations.

The ground investigations have involved several boring and drilling rigs sinking a number of boreholes to investigate the soils and rocks beneath the area. The boreholes have also allowed an assessment of the extent of past underground mining.

Gas monitoring, water sampling for the testing and monitoring of ground movement has also taken place using the boreholes. The results of these investigations have shaped the extent, nature and form of the proposed stabilisation scheme.

The proposed scheme comprises earthworks, treatment of mine workings, piling, river bank protection, drainage improvements, highway construction and landscaping.

The planning application was lodged on 31 July 2013 and determination is anticipated in the early Autumn. Site enabling works will then be required over the late Autumn and Winter prior to the main contractor commencing in Spring 2014. The stabilisation works are to be completed in early 2016 due to the funding secured from Central Government.

Negotiation and discussions are ongoing with various landowners and stakeholders to secure permissions and rights to construct the scheme.

Council is also progressing a full European Union procurement exercise to secure a potential main contractor. This is a two stage process with the first phase of Pre Qualification currently ongoing.

Councillor Richard Overton, cabinet member for Borough Town Development and Policy, said: "this is major work that is taking place as part of the ongoing project to stabilise the land at the Jackfield end of the Gorge.

Since 2001, Telford & Wrekin Council has spent more than £16 Million on tackling land instability in the Gorge, and this combined with £12 Million government funding is enabling us to carry out this complex technical project."