Ironbridge Power Station: Summit next month over future of iconic landmark
A summit will be held next month to begin the process of finding a new life for the site of Ironbridge Power Station.
Representatives from Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils will meet in mid January to discuss plans for the site, which is currently in the process of being shut down by power firm Uniper.
The station sits within Shropshire Council's boundary but the future of the development is key to neighbouring Telford & Wrekin Council, responsible for Ironbridge only minutes up the road.
Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council's cabinet member in charge of business and the economy, today said officers at the authority are in discussions with Uniper.
He said a dedicated stakeholder meeting will take place in mid January so officials can begin to approach those who might be interested in the site.
Councillor Charmley said Telford officials would be asked to take part. It is not yet confirmed if Uniper would attend the meeting, although the firm will be invited.
He said: "The meeting will discuss what will be taken away and what will be left on the site t so everyone is clear what the future holds. We need to start approaching companies to invest in the site."
Ironbridge Power Station, which features a series of iconic cooling towers that dominate the valley landscape, was switched off on November 20, 2015.
Although calls have been made to retain the towers, demolition work is to begin in the middle of next year, and will take around three years to complete.
A number of suggestions have been made for the future of the site, including the development of Telford Steam Railway, which has expressed an interest in extending its line south from the current station at Lawley into the Ironbridge Gorge, providing new means of transport and a tourist attraction.
Councillor Charmley said he understood that high level conversations had already taken place between Councillors Malcolm Pate and Shaun Davies, the leaders of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils, over the need for the site to be a success.
He said: "I think Malcolm has had conversations with Shaun Davies of Telford about what we can do to promote the site. It is vital for the area."
The future of the site is key to employment in the region as well as business rates, having provided a significant portion of Shropshire Council's income.
Councillor Charmley said: "It is not just the size of the site and the employment that was there previously, it represents a huge chunk in our business rates for Shropshire, at about about four per cent. That is a big old chunk of income Shropshire receives so it is a vital site for us. It is vital we get it right going forward and get the right stuff in there."