I wrote recently about the closure of Ironbridge Power Station.
A number of stakeholders met in February to discuss the future of the site with the owners, Uniper. I was among them, given the proximity of the site to Much Wenlock. Also present was Ironbridge representative, Telford & Wrekin’s Cllr Nicola Lowery, and Shropshire Cllr Claire Wild, in whose electoral division the power station is situated.
There were some challenging questions for the Uniper executives. The power station was the single biggest business rate payer in the Shropshire Council area. The site is adjacent to the Ironbridge Gorge and that offers great opportunity but also some significant challenges as reported by the Shropshire Star.
Now all the talk is beginning to turn into reality with an “Application for prior notification under Schedule 2 Part 11 of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 for the demolition of Ironbridge power station conveyors 6 and 7 and associated structures”. Details can be found here on Shropshire Council’s website. The demolition area is circled in red on these photographs.
The covering letter from Uniper says that the “demolition work of conveyors and associated structures is intended to commence in Q3 2017. It is anticipated that the demolition will take approximately 10 weeks”. It goes on to detail measures it is taking to deal with dust, noise and vibration, ecology, waste management and – most important for Much Wenlock – transport. I was relieved to read that:
“Primary access and egress routes to the site will be via the existing agreed HGV routes detailed below:
1. Traffic exiting the M54 at junction 4 will take the A454 (W), A4169 (Queensway, W), A4169 (Buildwas Bank, S) and Buildwas Road.
2. Traffic exiting the M54 at junction 6 will take the A5223 (S), A4169 (S) and Buildwas Road.”
Traffic will clearly have an impact on local occupiers, and in Buildwas Road in particular. Whilst this provides detail of primary routes, I remain cautious that this description does not leave the way clear for secondary routes to use the ancient and narrow Sheinton Street in Much Wenlock’s conservation area that carries the A4169 southwards. I shall be watching this closely.
With an estimated 360 tonnes of waste material to be removed from site over the duration of the works, 250 tonnes of which is metal, clearly the impact will be significant. It is, of course, necessary to carry out this work in order that the site can be sold and re-used but, given the relatively small area affected by these works, it is an indication of the enormous challenge that clearing the remainder of the site will entail.
NB: Shropshire Council’s website indicates: “This notifies the Council of proposed work or development not needing its permission. The Council will not be approving or refusing the proposal, so comments are not invited.”