CLEAN-UP proposals for contaminated land at Eling Wharf have been backed by Totton and Eling Town Council.
Southampton port owners ABP paid nearly £14m in 2018 for the prime Waterside site in Totton, which ended long-running plans to redevelop it with homes and businesses.
The 41-acre plot off the A35, which overlooks the River Test, was formerly owned by Burt Boulton Holdings (BBH). Areas of the site are currently leased to around 24 businesses.
For years BBH had been developing what it described as “once in a lifetime” plans to transform the heavily-polluted land into a new neighbourhood of 350 homes, plus shops and businesses, creating hundreds of jobs.
Issues facing the former landowner included clean-up costs following industry activities, including chemicals, coal and shipbuilding, thought to go back to the Medieval times.
In 2010, about 70 contaminants were identified there by New Forest District Council, including arsenic, lead and mercury. Some work was done to tackle pollution on the foreshore, which had to be closed temporarily.
Now ABP has submitted plans to NFDC to carry out remediation and containment measures.
The company said: “ABP is maintaining the site predominately for container storage and haulage operations in support of the operations at the main site in Southampton Docks.
“A series of intrusive ground investigations have been undertaken by previous landowners in association with earlier redevelopment plans. These have identified an area of ground and groundwater contamination along the eastern extent of Eling Wharf.
“The remediation works are planned to target this area with the intention of capturing contaminants and have been designed in consultation with Environment Agency and NFDC officers.”
Discussing the application at an online meeting of the town council’s planning committee, members agreed to recommend the application for approval.
Cllr Ben Thompson, who represents Eling, told the A&T: “It is good to see that ABP are planning to clear up Eling Wharf, as arsenic, lead and mercury are extremely harmful.”
NFDC environmental health officer Tracey Collins said: “The proposed remedial works are imperative to ensure the significant pollutant linkage, identified in previous site investigation and monitoring programmes at the site, of contaminated groundwater to the surface water of Eling Creek is broken to satisfy ABP’s responsibilities as current landowner.”
An ABP spokesperson told the A&T: “Whilst ABP has done much to tidy the site, before it can carry out this contamination capture work to remove the historic ground pollution, [it] needs to secure planning consent from the district council.
“There are no plans to redevelop the site at present and it will continue to serve many port-related businesses.”