Transport link hope for Ironbridge development
Plans to develop Ironbridge's former power station could provide vital transport links to major cities, a campaign group has said.
Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of the Marches Strategic Rail Group, said the site, which already has a rail line, could be used to create routes to London and Birmingham.
The Newport South & East Councillor said despite some concerns over the impact of large-scale development, a carefully planned vision for the site would provide huge potential for tourism and a boost to the economy.
The power plant closed in December 2015, and was last year bought by Harworth.
Company spokesman Iain Thomson said the railway line was a central part of its plans for the site.
Councillor Carter said the group is hoping for movement with the idea over the next three to four years.
"This is 350 acres of opportunity in a great location by the river," he said.
"We need to look at the positives this chance brings us, the potential of getting a link to London via rail is huge and something that shouldn't be overlooked and I've been stressing this to Harworth.
"I realise the concerns for 1,000 houses but people need to look at the long term vision which is very important to the whole area.
"It's a little awkward as the site is in the Shropshire Council area, but it has a huge impact on Telford and we need to create a discussion that involves the potential positives the site would bring as well as the negatives."
Development company Harworth wants to redevelop the Ironbridge site into a village complete with shops, schools and a doctor’s surgery.
A rail line would also ease traffic on the roads in and around the area, councillor Carter added.
"It's being discussed as a village which could bring a school, new jobs, a railway station and a park & ride facility that would provide people with transport to get into the area other than driving themselves," he said.
"How many sites have this kind of opportunity where a rail line is already there? This is a connectivity that's vital to the Gorge and needs to be taken advantage of."
Shropshire Council begun its 10-week consultation on plans for the site on Monday.