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Network Rail in 'ongoing discussions' with Ironbridge power station developers

By Alex Moore | Ironbridge | News | Published:

Network Rail is in “ongoing discussions” with the Ironbridge power station developers to bring passenger and heritage services to the disused line, a company strategy document says.

Harworth Group Plc has applied for outline permission to build 1,000 homes and facilities including a primary school and a park-and-ride facility on the site, where four cooling towers were demolished in December and further clearance work is continuing.

The consultation period on the plans runs until September 22, and Shropshire Council and Telford and Wrekin Council will decide on the application at a later date.

In a “Leisure Strategy”, submitted at the councils’ request, Pegasus Group – acting as planning agents for the Rotherham-based developer – also says safe cycle routes will be provided throughout the 340-acre site and existing sports pitches could get new car parks and changing rooms.

The document, which was submitted to the local authorities this week, says: “The retention of the railway line is a key ambition for the development, and ongoing discussions are in place with Network Rail exploring its viability, maintenance and other commitments.”

A planning statement submitted by Pegasus Group said Network Rail, the UK rail network owner and infrastructure manager, has “agreed in principle” that the grade II listed Albert Edward bridge, which crosses the Severn at Coalbrookdale, can be used, but “repair works are required”.

The leisure strategy continues: “The retention of the railway link and establishment of strong links to Ironbridge, with the proposed park and ride facilities, provide an opportunity for tourism- and leisure-related development.

“In addition, there is the potential for collaboration with existing assets. Discussions are taking place with representatives from local museums, for example, to identify how they can link into the scheme.”

The document also includes an analysis of sporting facilities in the area.

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“The site includes two existing sports pitches, and these will be retained by the scheme,” it says.

“There is the potential to develop the pitches for dual uses, including football and cricket.

“Ancillary provision of changing rooms and car parking will be developed for the sports pitches.

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“The management of the sport pitches will be confirmed in due course. However, the preference is for them to be managed by a local club.

“Contributions towards off-site sport and leisure provision could also be made. In such an event, discussions will be undertaken with the council and key stakeholders to ascertain the level, scale and location of these contributions.”

It also points out that the Shropshire Open Space Needs Assessment recommends three hectares of open space per 1,000 people. According to the 2011 census, Shropshire households contain, on average, 2.3 people.

“This means 6.9ha of open space would be needed,” the strategy says.

“The site will deliver 54ha of open space, well above what is required.”

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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