£1.2m clean-up trial at Hickson

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DEVELOPERS at a former Castleford chemical plant are nearing the end of a £1.2 million trial to clean up contaminated soil at the site.

A research team has spent four years testing the ground at the Hickson and Welch site, on Wheldon Road, led by land developers Aeternum, which own part of the site.

Teams from ground improvement contractors Eco Foundations and Cambridge University, have been experimenting with ways contaminants can be locked in the ground to make the land safe and ready for construction.

David Frohnsdorff, partner at Aeternum, said: “We are proud and privileged to have been a part of this site trial.

“We look forward to seeing its conclusions and assessing the best way we can make this site ready for regeneration.

“The future is very bright for this area and we look forward to sharing our plans with the community in the coming months.”

A number of teams have been based at the Wheldon Road site since October 2007 trialling ways to prepare contaminated soils for development.

The four-year experiment will officially end in September and the results will be used to develop a strategy for developing the former chemical works.

John Markham, former Hickson chief executive, said: “It is fantastic to see the potential in this site is being realised for the good of the whole community.

“Jobs, investment and sustainable enterprise are exactly what Castleford needs and this regeneration project is what’s required to achieve this.”

Future development of the site was blighted following its closure in 2005 by a restriction zone blocking development within one mile. The site had been used to store hazardous chemicals but Wakefield Council lifted the ban last September following advice from the Health and Safety Executive.