Oxted Gasholder - Courtyard Gardens Build - June 2019

On site at the Courtyard Gardens housing development for 111 luxury apartments.

On site at the Courtyard Gardens housing development for 111 luxury apartments.

Welcome to this months June blog about the St William Courtyard Gardens development here in Oxted, this blog is number 6, previous ones can be found here.

For my regular readers and locals, you will be aware that the gas holder that once stood on this site for over 50 years is no more, its removal has made way for the construction of 111 luxury apartments due for completion summer 2021, my regular monthly blogs will keep you updated about the progress.

The buildings works are beginning to take shape, the previous two bases where the gas holders once sat are less visible now. This photograph taken on 11 June 2019.

The buildings works are beginning to take shape, the previous two bases where the gas holders once sat are less visible now. This photograph taken on 11 June 2019.

Moving on…

I look forward to my monthly site visits because each time I photograph I can see a vast difference that never ceases to amaze me, and this time was no exception. I know very little (maybe nothing) about the building process and find it fascinating to see the different processes involved, from the excavation, to the soil examination, to the air purifiers, that intermittently blast a mist of a fragrance that is reminiscent of freshly ironed cotton sheets, into the atmosphere to dissipate any potential soil odours. Vibration mechanisms are in place to monitor in real time the noise pollution so it is kept to a minimum and dust machines are in place to settle any excess from spreading.

The remaining rim of the base of the gas holder is over one metre wide and deep, during the removal process we have heard a tapping sound during working hours (my studio backs onto the site), which has been the result of the gradual destruction of the concrete to make way for the building works to take place. Some of the hardcore on site is recycled for use during the building process.

The photographs below show the preparation of the ground works before the sheet piling takes place next week during a six week period. There is no longer gas on the site as all essential gas equipment has been relocated, but occasionally people may notice some smells as the next phase of groundworks begins, but hopefully the air fragrance will be sufficient to destroy this. There will also be increased noise and vibration during this period. I will be on site in July to photograph this next stage.

The photographs below give you a sense of what it is like.

Each time I am on site I meet a different team of contractors as the development grows, but the two people from St William, who have remained constant are Joe Pallister the Project Manager and Ness Kingham, the lovely Site Manager, who accompanies me on my visits and tells me more about the build process each time, very educational. On this particular occasion the heavy rain over the past few weeks was one of the topics of conversation as it had made the site very muddy and slippery, a pump was needed to drain the excess water that had collected at the lowest point, it looks like we have experienced the wettest June on record!

The photographs show different machinery that is required on site to excavate the soil, move rubble and prepare the surface for the next stage. What once looked like a familiar space to me no longer feels or looks how l once remembered it.

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I’ll be back next month with further updates, watch this space for further developments.

Thanks for reading, bye for now.

Stella