Shropshire Star

No to McDonald's: Only 'high quality and appropriate' uses allowed at Ironbridge Power Station development

McDonald’s won’t be coming to the former Ironbridge Power Station – as the developers said they only want “appropriate and high quality” uses for the site .

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The developer's impression of plans for the Ironbridge Power Station site - but McDonald's won't be coming

A fast food restaurant was just one of a number of ideas put forward by members of the public after the demolition of the power station towers.

But Harworth, which owns the power station site, ruled out a McDonald’s for the landmark location, saying it would not be appropriate within the Ironbridge Gorge.

The suggestion for a McDonald’s was one of a number made by the public after the planning application for the plans, involving 1,000 homes, were submitted.

People also called for an Asda, bridleways for horses and a doctor’s surgery.

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Iain Thomson, of Harworth, said: “The main thing is making sure any type of use is appropriate and high quality. If we didn’t have a high quality development, eventually the public would have every right to be upset. For instance, McDonald’s isn’t an appropriate use of that site.

Mr Thomson said that it was hoped work would begin on the Albert Edward railway bridge near the power station site this year.

Repairs to the bridge will allow materials from the demolition to be taken off the site by train and, in the long term, could allow heritage and passenger trains to run through the Gorge regularly for the first time in decades.

Mr Thomson urged people to read through the plans and to have their say through councils, adding: “Plans are not set in stone. Clearly there is scope to amend the elements suggested.”

If given permission by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils, the finished power station site will include 1,000 homes, a retail and commercial centre and a primary school.

Albert Edward Bridge

Mr Thomson said: "It has been a very labour intensive process so far. I hope when people look at the application, they realise we are committed to a high quality, design-led application. "

Over the next year, work will continue on demolishing the current buildings on the power station site.

Other than a few exceptions – the substation and the old pump house among them – everything on the site will come down in the coming year and a half.

The moment the Ironbridge cooling towers came down

Farewell to the towers:

"We've got until the end of summer 2021 to complete the demolition," Mr Thomson said.

"People will see a gradual erosion of the skyline around the power station. The chimney will be coming down. the turbine hall will be demolished.

"It's going to be fairly steady, a gradual process. There will be a continual presence of workmen on site."

Mr Thomson said Harworth will be working with Network Rail on strengthening the bridge, and hoped work would begin this year.

"We've got to carry on with Network Rail and other groups in 2020," he said. "We're going to work hard at it."

The application, which has been submitted to Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council, also includes plans for nature corridors, public open space and the re-use of the site’s pump house to support either retail, community or river-based uses.

Planning bosses at both councils will now consider the plans, and a decision is expected to take up to 12 months to make.