Shropshire Star

Ironbridge Power Station redevelopment: First parcel of land sold for village plans

The first parcel of land has been sold on the former Ironbridge Power Station site to bring plans for a new "village" closer to reality.

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An artist's impression of the development, with the land that has been sold circled in red

Nine acres of the land have been sold by land regeneration specialist, Harworth Group plc, to Barratt and David Wilson Homes Mercia.

The nine-acre parcel represents the first phase of Harworth’s mixed-use regeneration of the site, which will ultimately see the delivery of over 1,000 homes alongside a range of commercial, leisure and community uses.

Barratt and David Wilson Homes plans to develop 110 houses as part of the first phase at Benthall Grange, which will range from two- to five-bedroom family homes, marketed under the David Wilson Homes brand.

Work on the first phase is expected to begin later this year with the entire development finished by 2030.

Aerial photo of the former Ironbridge Power Station site at Buildwas ahead of development.

Developers say the development will follow a detailed design code that reflects the aspirations for the wider site and the "distinct character" of the area, including the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

Harworth secured planning permission for the regeneration of the former Ironbridge Power Station in September 2021, having acquired the 350-acre site in June 2018.

Planning permission was granted despite a storm of controversy from objectors in nearby communities who feared traffic problems.

In addition to new homes, plans for the development include a retirement village, up to 200,000 square feet of employment space with offices and light industrial units, and a local centre offering convenience retail and other services.

Community amenities will include a new primary school, allotments and sports pitches, while the former power station's 1930s pumphouse will be retained as part of the proposals and transformed into a "flexible" space for community and leisure uses.

An aerial view of the first phase parcel of land

Harworth says sustainability is at the heart of the masterplan for Benthall Grange.

Andrew Blackshaw, chief operating officer for the Harworth Group, said the development would incorporate extensive green space, including 56 acres reserved exclusively for protecting biodiversity.

Site preparation works have included the installation of six great crested newt ponds, a bat barn and a 21 metre-tall nesting tower for peregrine falcons.

Ironbridge Power Station, Chimney demolition..

Harworth has also maximised recycling of materials from the site, reclaiming around 35,000 tonnes of metal and 70,000 tonnes of crushed concrete for reuse in the development, with the remains of the site’s four cooling towers being used to construct new cycle and footpaths.

“The sale of our first land parcel is a major milestone for our transformative Ironbridge development, and follows extensive planning, site preparation and engagement with local stakeholders by the Harworth team. We look forward to bringing future phases to the market in the coming year and beyond," Mr Blackshaw said.

David Cockroft, the regional director said: "It is testament to Harworth’s vision that within just five years of acquiring a former power station with all its associated infrastructure, we are now in a position to build the first homes of a sustainable new community at the site.”

The demolition of a chimney at the former power station

Dominic Harman, managing director for Barratt and David Wilson Homes Mercia, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen as the first phase gateway quality developer for Benthall Grange and look forward to working in partnership with Harworth.

"We are well-advanced with our plans on the delivery on what will be a sustainable flagship development in an exceptional, historic and highly desirable location. The Benthall Grange development will follow a history of Barratt and David Wilson Homes working with Harworth on other developments across the country.”

Ironbridge Power Station, Chimney demolition..

The power station ceased operation in November 2015.

The four cooling towers were demolished in December 2019 and the former Bunker Bay was demolished in July 2020. The final key demolition event, the bringing down of the chimney stack, took place in late summer 2021.