Concern over impact of plans for Ironbridge Power Station site
Huge redevelopment plans for Ironbridge Power Station could lead to Shropshire Council securing "all the benefit", while Telford & Wrekin Council suffers the majority of the impact, a councillor has warned.
Two of Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet members have raised concerns over the development plans for the Buildwas power station, which so far have been outlined to include 1,000 homes, business, leisure facilities and a school – effectively creating a new settlement.
An anomaly of the development is that Shropshire Council will decide if, and how, it goes ahead, but that it is likely to have a bigger impact on Ironbridge and residents looked after by Telford & Wrekin Council.
Now Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for the Visitor Economy and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, and David Wright, the authority's cabinet member for housing, transport and infrastructure, have both said they hope Shropshire Council listens to their concerns – particularly over the impact on roads and health services.
Councillor Healy said: "Ironbridge is the nearest local centre to the power station site.
“It is inevitable that the proposed development will result in significantly increased traffic in the area and increased pressure on local services.
“Of particular concern to me is the future of Ironbridge Medical Practice as the draft consultation document refers to a new medical facility within the proposed development.
“Given that there is a national shortage of GPs, it is clear to me that this could lead to the closure of Ironbridge Medical Practice.
“For many elderly residents and others without access to a car, this would have a major impact and would be a real loss and something I would strongly oppose.
“I recognise that the power station must be demolished and the site cleaned up but I have real concerns that the current proposals will mean Shropshire will get all the benefit while Telford and Wrekin – in particular the residents of The Gorge – will suffer the greatest impact.”
Councillor Wright added: “This looks to be a very significant development right on the border of Telford and Wrekin and I can only hope that our voice will be listened to by Shropshire Council.
“The impact on our infrastructure should not be under-estimated – it is a development that would generate significant extra traffic as well as pressure on services like water and power.”
The power station site was bought by development company Harworth, which is seeking permission to transform the site in a project which will see the landmark pink cooling towers demolished.
Shropshire Council plans to put forward the power station development as one of its preferred strategic site projects. The council's cabinet will vote whether to begin consultation on the plans tomorrow.
Shropshire Council’s consultation document on the plans indicates they would benefit the whole of the county.
It states: “Shropshire Council considers that emerging proposals for the mixed-use redevelopment of the former Ironbridge Power Station site present an opportunity to support the local economy, create jobs, provide housing and to sympathetically remediate the site and as such represent a sustainable option for its future use.
"It is therefore considered appropriate to identify the former Ironbridge Power Station as a preferred strategic site, the redevelopment of which will contribute to meeting the development needs of Shropshire in the longer term.”