Infrastructure for new Ironbridge power station village will cost £62 million

Providing the infrastructure for the proposed new village on the site of the former Ironbridge Power Station will cost more than £62 million.

The moment the cooling towers were demolished at Ironbridge Power Station
The moment the cooling towers were demolished at Ironbridge Power Station

The enormous costs of the controversial plans should be offset by a £16.75m contribution towards the development, a report from planners says.

This would include ringfencing all the Community Infrastructure Levy funding expected from the scheme for the infrastructure.

Shropshire councillors will debate the outline planning application from the Harworth Group at a meeting next week.

Planning officers are recommending the granting of permission subject to a raft of conditions.

The applications would see up to 1,000 homes and a retirement complex built along with shops, employment land and a new primary school, in the parish of Buildwas.

There would be sports pitches and a pavilion, a village green and even aspirational plans for a light railway link to Telford and a park and ride.

Although mainly in Shropshire, a small part of the land comes within Telford and Wrekin.

The applicant, Harworth, purchased the site from Uniper UK Limited in June 2018, following closure of the power station in November 2015.

Part of the masterplan for the site included 20 per cent of the dwellings to be affordable housing.

However, a report to the south planning meeting to be held on Tuesday says: “The high infrastructure and abnormal costs amount to £62.84 million. As a result, the development is only viable with the provision of five per cent affordable housing and £16.75 million toward Section 106 and CIL contributions.

“Notwithstanding these financial constraints officers are satisfied that sufficient funding is available to deliver a sustainable scheme which has the potential to deliver significant benefits both to the public and to the local environment.

“This is a significant scheme which has the potential to deliver major benefits to Shropshire in terms of housing, employment, environmental enhancements and remediation of a major brownfield site which might otherwise become derelict.”

The application has brought objections from several neighbouring parish councils as well as the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site Steering Group and local civic society as well as individuals.

Traffic issues are high on the list of objections as well as fears of the closeness of the site to several environmentally important sites.

The report says the site is next to the Tick Wood and Benthall Edge Site of Special Scientific Interest with Ironbridge half a mile east.

Buildwas Abbey is 500 metres away and the Shropshire Hills are to the west.

Planning officers said that two new roads would be built into the site from the A4169 Much Wenlock Road.

“Following completion of the first phase, 250 dwellings, the existing vehicular access point off Buildwas Road would be closed to vehicular traffic and retained as a pedestrian and cycle links and as a public transport corridor,” the report adds.

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