AWE Major Office Plans

NIS UPDATE                                                               25th October 2006

AWE Major Office Plans

Public Consultation closing Date for objections

Thursday 2nd November 2006

Extracts from Planning Application No: 06/2326/FULMAJ
Examined at West Berks council Offices, Newbury on 23rd October 2006


The AWE application contains an Environmental Impact Assessment, a Design & Access Statement (required since 8/06), 26 Office plans, Plans for a Reception Block, Gate House, Management Building and Fence construction details. There are also 9 Supporting Statements and notice that Fees of £32,610 were submitted on 28th September 2006. As there is no longer any Crown immunity and planning permission is now required, West Berks. Council will be seeking developer contributions to mitigate the impact of the development as a normal procedure. There have been pre-application discussions with regard to possible amounts and uses for any contributions but this is confidential. 

Part 1

The Application is for new building, redevelopment and change of use but no demolition or alteration or extension. Land to be used is a previously cleared site used for employment and recreational purposes. Trees on site to do not have preservation orders on and surface water will drain to the existing system and/or SUDS. There will be a new access and car park provision for 1509 cars, with 513 spaces for construction parking.

Part 2

The site is not liable to flood. Under Planning Obligations, any financial contributions are yet to be agreed. In addition to the 21,405 sq m floor space building, 486 sq m is construction related. The estimated number of vehicles going to the site in a normal day is 3,025. Construction traffic and operational new staff transport will be in addition to this. The number of new staff is given as 1,400, with no existing staff listed as users although this is said to be a precautionary figure with some of the 1,400 expected to be existing staff.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Areas of concern have been identified but much remains to be done to profile run-off and test groundwater.

Surface Water Drainage Strategy

Key Activity 6 Hydraulic Analysis of rainfall profiles will be undertaken.

Key Activity 7 A specialist team will be established to negotiate with the EA on options for dealing with surface water discharge for construction and final phase. These negotiations will be based on a site-wide solution.

Key Activity 8 A study will be carried out to determine the appropriate SUDS solution for each catchment.

Key Activity 9 A study will be undertaken to develop a policy to establish where flooding can be tolerated and at what frequency.

Key Activity 10 A study will be undertaken to determine the effect of extreme [weather] events.

The presence of contamination is considered negligible to minor adverse to human health.


The designated route from the A4,M4 and M3 for HGV construction traffic is both north and south on the A340, through Aldermaston or Tadley. Both communities will suffer badly from a great increase in traffic at peak times, particularly through the historic Aldermaston village that is quite unsuitable for HGVs. The reserved option route is Burghfield Rd to Grazley, A33 and M4 J11. Once the offices are operational, the plan says that mitigating cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings will give an overall beneficial impact on pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Contaminated Land

7.4.8 based on the historical and current use of the site the following potential contaminant sources have been identified in previous investigations:

radiological materials in soils and ground water from current or historical operations

explosives residues and chemical contaminants, heavy metals, TPhH,PAH, PCBs

solvents and asbestos contaminated soil.

The magnitude of the impact on human health is generally considered to be low to medium.

Mitigation action will be to undertake further monitoring, risk assessment and modelling.

Applicant Conclusion

The building will have an overall positive impact on the local and regional economy and help secure the long-term viability of AWE.


The most marked oddity on the plans is that of two large plant rooms, West Plantroom and East Plantroom that occupy each of four floors [including ground] for the whole of one end of both of the mirror-image buildings. They appear to contain no windows and have only one access door. Other plant rooms, battery stores, facility support rooms and eight Central Document Control rooms are shown in addition to office space, conference rooms, and staff facilities.

Attachment: application_covering_letter.pdf.
Attachment: planning_application.pdf.  (6.7Mb)
Attachment: application_masterplan.pdf.
Attachment: site_application_plan.pdf.
Attachment: ground_floor_bld1.pdf.
Attachment: first_floor_bld1.pdf.
Attachment: second_floor_bld1.pdf
Attachment: third_floor_bld1.pdf.  
Attachment: general_arrangement_bld1_bld2.pdf.

For more plans see:;jsessionid=2C01126092D473C5DACF760048D086BE.wam2?action=show&appType=planning%20folder&appNumber=06/02326/FULMAJ
If that link doesn't work, see click search, selction England, then West Berkshire Council then click search again and type PAICES HILL.


This very large building, with accommodation for at least 1,400 people, is an essential part of the AWE Development Plan and the government’s long-term strategy. A given aim is to impress visitors and provide a pleasing work environment for staff with an Atrium, water feature and landscaped surroundings. No mention is made in the plans of the use to which the building is to be put: the maintenance and development of the UK nuclear weapons programme. Yet this planning application is for a new powerhouse for the management of nuclear weapons production for the next 50 years. Concerns at the planning stage have to centre on the effects of the building on the neighbourhood but, in line with planning policy, the applicant has to show all the uses to which the building will be put.


Please see previous October NIS Updates for grounds for objection. Letters should be sent to:

Clive Inwards                                          
Principal Planning Officer                               Tel:  01635-519111
West Berkshire Council                                  Fax: 01635-519408
Market Street Newbury  RG14 5LD              or


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