Mountain Ash Medical Centre - GreenBlue Urban

Mountain Ash Medical Centre


A new community medical centre in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash had been years in the planning; the existing two general practices were both located in premises which were no longer fit for purpose, and lacked suitable disabled access, so land was acquired in the town centre, close to the railway station for the new centre.

Mountain Ash, a town in the narrow Cynon Valley, was largely by-passed by the development boom experienced by other villages in South Wales and didn’t really flourish until the mid 1830s. Previously known as Aberpennar or Duffryn, the village became named after the Mountain Ash Inn in the centre of the village, used by many travellers up and down the valley.

Since the Welsh Government ratified Schedule 3 of the 2010 Flood & Water Management Act, every development over 100 square meters, or for more than one dwelling has to provide a Sustainable Drainage System for the surface water run off. These SuDS solutions have to be approved by SuDS Approval Bodies (SAB) set up by local authorities to manage the design and implementation of such features. This legislation came into force in Wales only on 7th January 2019 and has been dramatic in its effect, forcing distinct changes in drainage design.

There are many different solutions to provide a good SuDS scheme, and the main ones embrace “The four Pillars of SuDS” policy established by CIRIA in their excellent SuDS Manual. This gives consideration to water quantity, water quality, biodiversity and amenity benefits in a balanced way. In a constrained space, as on this site, some of the conventional solutions such as an attenuation basin or even large below ground storage tanks were difficult to use. Water quality was an important consideration, as the new centre was only a matter of metres from the River Cynon, a main tributary of the River Taff, so untreated surface water discharge into the river was not possible.

Working with GreenBlue Urban, Jehu Projects specified and installed the revolutionary HydroPlanter modular rain garden solution. The rainwater from the roof of the whole building comes down the back of the surgery in downpipes and drains into three HydroPlanter systems, each with three modules. The water is then filtered through the vegetation, through the bioremediation soil, and can then drain out to the surface water network, clean enough to enter a watercourse without any chance of pollution.

This installation is particularly interesting as it showcases how a SuDS feature can be installed close to a building without risking sub-soil swell or shrinkage, as the HydroPlanter units are fully sealed. It also displays how unobtrusive these interventions can be, and in fact, now that the planting is becoming established, how attractive they can become.

GreenBlue Urban continue to innovate to being solutions to designers, specifiers and contractors that are highly cost effective, and bring the worlds of green and blue infrastructure ever closer together. GreenBlue Urban support the collaboration generation, and are proud of this successful project, working with NHS Wales, Jehu Projects and Apollo Medical to create a place for the future that is designed for the future.