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Recommendations for the Installation of a Footpath from the Car Park to the Playground

Introduction

The parish council is aiming to improve local facilities. There have been requests from the community for a path from the car park to the playground. This would overcome the problem of muddy waterlogged grass and poor access for wheelchair users.

Decision to be made

  • Width of the path
  • Choice of surface: Tarmac or Cotswold self binding gravel
  • Route of the path
  • When should this work be done
  • Select supplier if going ahead

Summary of Decisions with Recommendations

Width

A width of 1.3m is recommended as a good balance between function, appearance and cost. The total width between the village hall and the school fence is 7m, so this would also allow space for vehicular access.

Surface

The choices to consider are between tarmac or self binding gravel. The longevity of both solutions is considered suitable for the location. The aesthetic look of the Cotswold gravel is considered more in keeping with the environment. The cost saving of the self binding path allows for more spending in other projects.

It is recommended to install a Cotswold self binding gravel path with timber edging.

Route

It is recommended that the path go along the edge of the school boundary fence, leaving a gap of about 0.5 to 1m from the fence for leaf and branch debris, and then curve around to the play park. This route avoids the path being driven over by the grounds maintenance team to access the playing field from the car park. The distance from the car park to the playground is about 60m long.

A choice needs to be made between restoring the existing concrete path or having it removed during demolition with a new path extending all the way to the playground.

Considering the visual appearance and possible future concrete removal costs, it is recommended to extend the path to the playground.

Timing

It is recommended that the following points are considered and debated at the meeting to conclude the appropriate timing for this project:

  • Future plans, for example a half tennis court, may mean re-routing the path. It may be worth waiting for the outcome of the public consultation in March.
  • The local community have expressed a desire for this path to be completed as soon as possible. If the concrete path is removed during demolition, access will become even more difficult for residents.
  • If ever required, the cost of rerouting the path may not be significant if a gravel path is chosen.

It is recommended to go ahead with the proposed route and install the path as soon as possible rather than wait until March 2021

Public Consultation

Various members of the public have expressed a wish for this path to be installed.

Quotations

There are three quotations to consider for Cotswold self binding gravel. The last quotation is the Clerk’s calculation based on market prices of materials and labour. The clerk’s estimate is more than the other suppliers suggesting that the suppliers quotes are competitive. Supplier A is the lowest price and also considered reliable, therefore supplier A is recommended.

Cost and budget available

The lowest cost option of gravel is a small proportion of the overall budget available. It is recommended to go ahead if the gravel option is chosen.

Appendix 1: Background Research

Specification of footpath foundations

The footpath is expected to have light foot traffic. Occasional ground works vehicles may pass over the path.

A width of 1.3m is suggested for pedestrians, and is a similar width to the surrounding paths in the park and car park. This width is narrow enough that it will keep down costs and allow space for vehicles to the side of the path.

The recommendations for installation and foundations[i] are as follows:

  1. Dig a trench and line with a Terram membrane. The Terram membrane protects[ii] helps stabilise and increase the longevity of the path and protects against the loss of building aggregates.
  2. The trench is then edged with either timber or concrete.
  3. A foundation of hardcore is placed in the trench, typically 100mm to 150mm deep.
  4. The surface of choice is applied, typically 40 to 50mm deep for Cotswold Gravel[iii] or 75mm deep for tarmac[iv].

Surface of the footpath

  • There were three surfaces considered in the research: Tarmac, RedGra and Self Binding Cotswold gravel.
  • The decision points can be narrowed down to appearance, longevity and cost.
  • RedGra was eliminated from consideration as it had similar properties to Cotswold gravel but cost about 30% more and is more typically chosen for a running track or football pitch.

Tarmac

Tarmac is a black surface that gives an urban looking result. Tarmac is considered the best option for longevity, but is the most expensive of the options. MacDonald surfacing states that a tarmac path should last 12 to 15 years[v] before it may require repair work. Tarmac is recyclable material and therefore considered environmentally friendly.

RedGra

RedGra is a fine red gravel surface. It is a good absorbent material, most ideally suited to running tracks, hard surface and football pitches[vi]. RedGra is priced in-between tarmac and Cotswold gravel.

Cotswold Self Binding Path Gravel

Cotswold gravel is a golden coloured fine gravel suitable for paths and cycle tracks[vii]. It has a natural more rural appearance and it is extensively used in the Bath area parks. Self binding gravel is ideal for applications where a firm surface is required whilst still remaining semi porous. Gravel paths have the advantage of being immune to discarded chewing gum[viii] Gravel paths are technically a loose surface and so some of the gravel may travel onto a tarmac pavement at the threshold. This is more of an issue if it was being used at the entrance to a building or as a car park. Weeds can start appearing on the surface, but can be easily removed.

Edging of the footpath.

There are two recommended options, treated timber boards, or concrete curbs. Treated timber boards are expected to last 10 to 20 years and can be replaced if required. Concrete curbs are a longer lasting solution but require a concrete base to set them in place and are considerably more expensive (as a guide an extra £28 per m). The longevity of a concrete curb would be more of a significant issue if the path was raised. In this instance the path will be at ground level with a soil edge, so the longevity of the edging is less significant.

General considerations for longevity

A more expensive and longer lasting specification may allow a longer period of time before any maintenance is required.

There are some reasons a long term more expensive solution may not be preferable:

  • Future plans could be fluid for this area. For example, an extension to the car park has been discussed, but shelved for now. Tennis courts and a half size tennis wall have been discussed and may require a diversion of the path.
  • This area is recreational and the path is surrounded by grass, so an urban looking specification may be considered visually inappropriate. A more natural gravel path is more in keeping with the appearance of the area.
  • The additional expense of a long term solution may limit spending on other projects

Appendix 2: Quotations (Confidential)

The Clerk’s estimate gives an estimate from online sources to gauge comparative value.

SupplierSpecificationCostNotes
ACotswold gravel, 50mm deep, hardcore 150mm deep, 1.3m wide x50m£4400 +VAT
Jan 2021 quote. The supplier can commence work in next two weeks
BCotswold gravel, 50mm deep, hardcore 150mm deep, 1.3m wide x50m£5250 +VATJan 2021 quote
C (tbc)Cotswold gravel, 50mm deep, hardcore 150mm deep, 1.3m wide x50m£6076** ex VAT

(Email was £2637.20 inc VAT for 20m)
Summer 2020 quote. Supplier historically has not delivered on promised timescales. Have emailed modified length and requested written confirmation, which has not yet been received. This price includes an calculated adjustment by the clerk for longer length and factors in a reduction for potential reclaimed VAT.
Dadditional cost for the 60m cotswold stone surfaced path~£2750+VATDec 2020 quote. Only available as an optional extra to installing the pump track, not as a stand alone option.
Clerk’s estimate from online material quotes60m x 1.3m Cotswold gravel 50mm £930 [ix] Hardcore £2172 [x] Terram £120 [xi] Pegs and Edging £280 [xii] Labour £3000 Machine Hire £600£6502 ex VATLabour and machine hire prices are best estimate from talking to contractors.

For reference the tarmac quotes were:

SupplierSpecificationCostNotes
1Tarmac, 75mm deep, hardcore 100mm deep, 1.2m wide x60m£7560 ex VAT 1.2m wide   
2 (tbc)Tarmac, 75mm deep, hardcore 100mm deep, 1.2m wide x60m£9328* ex VAT 1.2m wide   Requested written confirmation of phone conversation

Appendix 3: Research Sources

[i] Specifications researched from Springfield Road Surfacing Co, Soft Surfaces Ltd and ARB environmental services.

[ii] Terram: Contractors recommended specifications,

see also https://terram.com/markets/civil-engineering-and-building/stabilisation/

[iii] Cotswold Gravel: Contractors recommended specifications,

see also https://www.mainlandaggregates.co.uk/laying

[iv] Tarmac: Contractors recommended specifications,

see also https://awptarmac.co.uk/footpath-surfacing-full-specification-tarmac/#:~:text=Excavations%20are%20generally%20undertaken%20using,ground%20to%20a%20depth%20of

[v] Tarmac lifespan: https://www.crmacdonald.co.uk/collection-faqs-regarding-tarmac#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20the%20lifespan%20of,or%20undergo%20major%20repair%20work.&text=As%20a%20completely%20natural%20and,friendly%20methods%20of%20surfacing%20available.

[vi] RedGra: see https://bartlettaggregates.co.uk/product/redgra/

[vii] Cotswold self binding gravel: https://www.mainlandaggregates.co.uk/cotswold-self-binding-gravel.html

[viii] Self Binding gravel notes: https://www.pavingexpert.com/gravel05

[ix] Cotswold gravel prices: https://www.mainlandaggregates.co.uk/cotswold-self-binding-gravel.html

[x] Hardcore prices: https://www.mainlandaggregates.co.uk/quarried-aggregates/quarried-sub-base-aggregates/mot-type-1-sub-base.html

[xi] Terram prices: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QP9J9V1/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_iikFFb9ST67GQ

[xii] Timber prices from Dando building supplies

  • Posted: 6th October 2020