UK regeneration company Harworth Group is planning a mixed-use development of several hundred new homes on the site alongside commercial development, leisure uses and significant public open space.
Harworth has bought the 350-acre site for an undisclosed price, taking formal ownership of the land today.
Power station operator Uniper began the site sales process in February 2017 and completed its sale following a shortlisting process.
The Ironbridge, or Buildwas, power station was closed in November 2015, and early last year the site was put up for sale.
Adam Archer, Uniper Head of Land Management International, said “We’re delighted to have found a purchaser for the former Ironbridge power station land.
“There has understandably been great interest in what will happen to the site, and we are sure the new owners will be sharing details of their exciting plans in due course.”
Plans for the demolition of the decommissioned power station plant were submitted to Shropshire Council in autumn 2017 and subject to the appropriate approvals, Harworth Group will be taking on the responsibility for both the demolition and for the site’s sustainable redevelopment.
New owners speak about plans
Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive Officer of Harworth Group, said: “The redevelopment of Ironbridge Power Station requires an experienced regeneration company to sensitively handle the project. We have proved with our major developments of former coal mines and other industrial sites across the North of England and the Midlands that we have the core skills required to effectively redevelop complex sites. We look forward to doing the same at Ironbridge.
“The Midlands market remains a key priority for the business as we continue to expand our presence in the region. With the continued undersupply of new homes and commercial space, there is good demand from housebuilders and commercial occupiers alike. This acquisition forms part of our ongoing strategy to become the UK’s leading regeneration company.”
The site comprises around 240 acres of brownfield land and a neighbouring parcel of over 100 acres of agricultural land. Harworth says it will remediate the site ready for future development and promote the site through the planning process, targeting the delivery of a new mixed-use development of several hundred new homes alongside commercial development, leisure uses and significant public open space.
Construction of the original coal-fired Ironbridge A station began in the 1920s, with commercial operations of the first phase of development starting in 1932. Ironbridge B coal power station, with a generating capacity of 1000MW, was commissioned in 1970. Ironbridge A and B co-existed until the demolition of A in 1982/3.
Ironbridge B finally closed on 20 November 2015 in order to comply with the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). Prior to this, in 2013, the power plant was converted to fire wood pellet fuel for the remaining LCPD hours, whilst retaining the ability to co-fire coal at a maximum level of around 20% electrical output.
Listed on the main market, Harworth Group plc (LSE: HWG) is a land regeneration and property investment specialist which owns, develops and manages a portfolio of approximately 21,000 acres of land on 136 sites throughout the Midlands and North of England. The company specialises in the regeneration of former coalfield sites and other brownfield land into employment areas, new residential developments and low carbon energy projects.
Local councillor reacts
Nicola Lowery, borough councillor for the Ironbridge Gorge said: “Harworth Group plc have a strong track record in the regeneration of industrial sites, are highly experienced in bringing life to brownfield sites and are very much at the forefront of regeneration in the UK.
“The future of the former Ironbridge Power Station and the opportunities that it presents for economic growth are significant and Harworth Group have experience on similar sites such as Waverley in Rotherham.
“Harworth have been responsible for remediating some of the most complex brownfield sites in the UK and the next steps will be to look at the demolition as well as embarking on creating a vision and masterplanning for this unique site.
“The initial discussions with Harworth have been encouraging and I along with neighbouring councillors will be meeting with the new buyer in the coming weeks to ensure we establish an open and constructive dialogue at the earliest opportunity.
“I maintain my preference for a mixed-use development and an inclusive approach to public consultation to ensure our local communities are aware of the key information relating to the demolition and are given the opportunity to contribute to the future of the power station, which I know is of great interest to residents.
“The former power station sits on the doorstep of one of our most important historical assets and it is important we make use of this once in a lifetime opportunity to realise the national economic potential of this strategic and important site. I look forward to working closely with Harworth Group over the forthcoming months to ensure we achieve an iconic regeneration project for our region.”
Source: Shropshire Star