Report - - HETS Laboratory Ossett 29/6/8 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - HETS Laboratory Ossett 29/6/8


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The HETS (Highways evaluation Technical section) laboratory is located on the Horbury-ossett road. It was founded in the 1960's by the former west riding county council, and evaluated all aspects of geology concerning council projects. It closed around 2000/2001 and consists of a converted former tramshed and portacabin buildings.

From leeds councils website:

" 1 Introduction

The Geotechnical Section (formerly The HETS Laboratory) has provided
geotechnical and mining services to both local authorities and private clients in West Yorkshire and the surrounding area for over 50 years.

Using its large GIS catalogued database of past reports, geological and historic maps the section provides not only detailed desk studies but also a diverse ground investigation capability through its comprehensive term contract with nationally accredited contractors.

The recent formation of the partnership between the Development Department and international consultants Mouchel Parkman has made a wider pool of engineers available to the Section to meet the constant demand for information on a wide variety of schemes by both Leeds City Council and the other district authorities of West Yorkshire. The level of demand is such that for the last three years private clients can no longer be accommodated.

2 Desk studies

The geotechnical/environmental/geological site appraisal (desk) studies carried out by the Section provide a preliminary assessment of site conditions to optimise the design of follow up ground investigation works and target potential problems. This also minimises costs.

The studies assess potential risk of instability through past mining, quarrying or buried structures. They also highlight potential contamination from past or present usage of the site. Other factors assessed include mine shaft records, radon protection, groundwater vulnerability and flood risk.

The information upon which the desk studies are based is taken from the public domain and the Section's own database. This archive is an invaluable source of information for geotechnical and geoenvironmental data and is generally considered to be the best of its kind covering West Yorkshire.

3 Ground investigation

Because of the diverse areas of involvement of Local Authorities the ground investigation and assessment carried out by the Section covers a large range of schemes. These have included:

* Major and minor highway schemes
* Highway retaining walls (new and failures of existing)
* Contaminated land
* PFI School ventures
* Housing
* Leisure facilities
* Dams
* Landfill sites
* Cemeteries and crematoria

The Section also has the duty to examine geotechnical reports for new roads submitted by developers requiring their adoption by the Local Authority under Section 38 and Section 278 of the 1980 Highways Act. The section is required to advise the Highway Design and Construction Group of any potential geotechnical problems with these designs.

The variety of projects in which the section has recently been involved includes

* Detailed geotechnical desk study for the entire proposed network of the Leeds Supertram scheme involving the review of over 2000 past boreholes.
* Assessment of the geotechnical proposals of a developer involved in a major sale of development land, effecting savings to the local authority of over £1.5 million.
* Acting as expert witness for an adjacent local authority in a successful High Court Mediation over a landslip affecting a main highway resulting in the recovery of a six figure sum.
* As part of a technology exchange contract held by an adjacent authority with Kampala City Council, Uganda, the Section was involved in the site assessment of a major failure in a landfill on the outskirts of Kampala. The report subsequently submitted was accepted by the World Bank for funding for remedial works.
* Geotechnical design of numerous major new road schemes including East Leeds Link, Leeds Inner Ring Road, A1 to Hemsworth Bypass (for Wakefield MDC), A65 Improvements, M606 Staygate Improvements (for Bradford MBC). Normanton Bypass (for Wakefield MDC)

Formerly as West Yorkshire HETS Materials Laboratory in 1960's the Section was responsible for the geotechnical investigation and design of most of the major motorways in the area, such as the M1, M62 and M18. Also other major routes such as the A65 Skipton Bypass, the A64 Tadcaster Bypass and Lincoln Relief Road are just a few. Archive records for these schemes are still retained in the Geotechnical Section database."



the former tramshed, the rails and stone setts still exist.


side view.


Looking towards the sample recieving entrance.


This is where incoming samples to be tested were taken in.



The trashed portacabins.


caretakers house.


Looking towards the main road through a broken window.

Internal shots:




lots of old roadbuilding plans, and a leaflet for the shelved leeds supertram are in the portacabins.



The first laboratory you come across is the sample receiving laboratory. There are temperature controlled areas marked with the day received.


Drying kiln.


There is not a huge amont of testing laboratories on the ground floor, this area seems to have dealt more with the preparation and recieving of the samples. There are former mountings for stone saws here.



Inside the former tramshed area, this is probably where forklift trucks were kept and deliveries received, no evidence of the rails exists inside.


stairwell up.






Upstairs is probably the highlight of the explore, the laboratories.
There are numerous fume cupboards and hardwood benches, very much like being in school again. The coalfield sticker has to date back to at least 1992, and the old pen nibs must have been for the ledgers of yesteryear.



At the rear of the old caretakers house there is a store cupboard stuffed with old files, ledgers and late 70's fax machines.

A planning application was lodged last year for housebuilding on the site, this has now been withdrawn.

Thanks for reading.