15th April 2019

Revving up for extensive site investigation at TV filming site

Thomasons has been appointed to assist in scoping, monitoring and advising on the findings of an extensive desk study and intrusive site investigation at the former WW2 aerodrome and business park in Surrey, Dunsfold Park.

The site was originally used as an emergency airfield by the Royal Canadian Air Force from May 1942 until 1945. After the end of WW2, the site also played a significant part in the Berlin airlift of 1948-49. It was subsequently used by Hawker Aircraft and BAE Systems to build combat aircraft, including the Hunter, Harrier and Hawk, until the factory was closed in 2000.

Due to the site’s history, careful consideration has been required in relation to evaluating the risk from possible WW2 unexploded ordnance and potential historic sources of contamination.

Today the site is the home to the BBC’s fast-paced Top Gear programme and used for various other film and TV programmes, as well as providing a home to over 100 local businesses, employing approximately 1,100 people.

There are plans to redevelop Dunsfold Park with a diverse mix of housing together with creating a balanced community by providing new jobs on-site, providing a new education hub and enhancing the natural qualities of the site with provision of a substantial country park surrounding the village.

Redevelopment of part of the site has been proposed, along with growing the business park and creating a new sustainable Surrey village of some 1,800 homes. Current proposals are to develop the site with a mix of housing, including open market, affordable and starter homes, and to add over 30,000 square metres to the existing business park.

The development will seek to minimise the environmental footprint of the village by incorporating and delivering innovative designs, technologies and practices for energy, transport, waste and construction. It also proposes to enhance the natural qualities of the site, which is located adjacent to very important landscape features such as the Wey and Arun Junction Canal where a new Canal Basin is proposed.

This is not the first time Thomasons has worked on a site used by the BBC. In 2013, the firm helped with the preparations for a stunt-filled race through the old BBC Television Centre in West London.