Transformation impresses judges


The transformation of part of a 120-year-old disused quarry in Chipping Sodbury into homes and a supermarket received a highly commended certificate from the Mineral Products Association at its restoration and biodiversity awards presentation in London.

The southern end of Barnhill quarry, which once housed the stone processing and asphalt plants, now features a Waitrose supermarket and a McCarthy & Stone retirement home. And to the north, more than 70 new homes have been built on a section of the former extraction site.

Large-scale quarrying began at Barnhill in the early 1900s in the days when little thought was given to what was being left behind. It was finished in the mid-60s and lay dormant for the next 45 years – a cavernous void measuring 400 metres across, up to 60 metres deep and nearly two kilometres in length. Plans for landfilling with domestic waste were proposed in the 1990s, but dropped amid strong local opposition.

In 2001, the initial blueprint of a residential and commercial development was drawn up. Work began in 2009 and the supermarket and car park, which includes a walkway to the town centre, were completed in 2011.

A two-year project then began to transport millions of cubic metres of low-grade stone waste from the neighbouring Southfields quarry into Barnhill to form a raised platform on which the houses have been built.

Construction work is now focused on the western end of the site, which once housed a ready-mixed concrete plant and lorry park, for a complementary housing development.
The MPA judges were impressed by the vision shown by both Heidelberg Materials and the developers.

They praised the way in which a brownfield site close to the town centre had been transformed into a peaceful area for people to live and shop.