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Call for lorry restrictions on power station development

By Alex Moore | Ironbridge | News | Published:

A parish council on the doorstep of the Ironbridge Power Station site is calling on developers to restrict lorry operation hours, to avoid the early morning and evening rush hours.

A developer's impression of the plans for the Ironbridge Power Station site

Harworth Group Plc has applied for outline planning permission to build up to 1,000 new homes, a primary school, and other amenities but, before that, a separate bid to extract nearly 2,000,000 tonnes of sand and gravel from the site needs approval from Shropshire Council.

The Rotherham-based company is proposing to run HGVs from 7am to 7pm on weekdays from 2021 until 2026, but, in its objection notice, The Gorge Parish Council asked for shorter window “in the interests of residents in the vicinity and along the route of the extraction vehicles”.

Clerk Ian Cruise-Taylor told members the parish council was collating responses it had received about the main planning application, and would submit them by the consultation end date of Friday, March 20. The response to the mineral extraction application has already been submitted.

“We’ve objected to the specific point regarding the removal of physical material and, in particular, the comments that colleagues have made about the working hours and, obviously, the strain on the road system,” Mr Cruise-Taylor said.

Application documents say the operations are expected to start next year, and will take place between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays and move 380,000 tonnes of material annually from the 120-acre site via dump trucks.

The Gorge Parish Council’s notice says it “objects to the proposed working hours and recommends these be restricted to between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday only, in the interests of residents in the vicinity and along the route of the extraction vehicles.”

A drop-in session and public meeting was held was held at the Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Community Centre in January. There, residents were invited to submit comments both directly to the planning authorities and to the parish council.

The Gorge Parish Council chairman Rae Evans asked Mr Cruise-Taylor: “We’ve got a summary of points from the presentation, haven’t we, so will we use those, and string them together into a narrative?”

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He confirmed they will.

Harworth’s cross-border planning application to both Shropshire Council and Telford and Wrekin Council covers land occupied by the former Ironbridge A and B power stations, where the cooling towers were demolished in December and the removal of other structures is expected to last until 2022.

The precursor mineral extraction application covers the “phased extraction and processing of sand and gravel, including the erection of processing plant and ancillary infrastructure, temporary storage of minerals, utilisation of existing rail siding and creation of new access road on to Much Wenlock Road”, council documents say.

Parish council planning committee chairman Lee Proudfoot has submitted his own objection to the proposal.

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Regarding transport, he said: “The applicant has proposed 75 per cent of the 1.9Mt of sand and gravel will be removed from the site by rail.

“However, this intended use is entirely dependent on Network Rail agreeing to and carrying out repairs and modifications to the Albert Edward rail bridge.

“For this reason I would suggest that any final deliberation by Shropshire Council is delayed until the situation is clear.”

If rail transport is allowed, he added, residents living near the line “will experience up to seven years of rail movements”.

If it is not allowed, he asked, “will number of daily HGV movements increase to accommodate this or will the duration of the overall removal period be extended?”

He adds that junction of Buildwas Bank and the A4169 Wenlock Road is “already difficult for many drivers, with a combination of fast moving traffic heading downhill, ambiguity of signalling traffic and the nature of the ghost junction opposite”.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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