Sunday 28 November 2021
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Major plans unveiled for Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station

Plans have been revealed to progress with an order allowing major development at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s cabinet will discuss proposals for the Local Development Order (LDO), which would grant planning permission for the site’s redevelopment.

It comes as part of plans to use the site for both the East Midlands Freeport and the East Midlands Development Corporation aspirations, transforming land at the site into a multi-use employment complex.

The power station is due to cease operations by October 2024, and will be replaced by a waste incinerator.  Council documents state this will provide a “significant redevelopment opportunity” on the 265-hectare site.

An LDO would give the site owner and new businesses the opportunity to reuse parts of the site that become redundant once it is decommissioned.

Documents state it would also give planning consent in time for new businesses to be up and running by September 30, 2026 – the final date for which firms must be operational to qualify for full Freeport benefits.

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These benefits include allowing businesses to import and export while avoiding tariffs and reducing red tape, with a ‘freeport’ zone classified as a low or zero-tax area.

The power station has already been outlined as a key component of the freeport bid, with Loughborough-based energy company Intelligent Energy confirming its plans for up to 1,000 new jobs.

The company’s proposals would see a renewable energy Hydrogen Gigafactory built at the site, with the company saying the station will become a “powerhouse for green manufacturing”.

Commenting in September, David Woolhouse, the company’s chief executive, said: “The Freeport would be an excellent location for us for the advantages it gives in supporting growth and developing exports.

“We would want to bring our supply chain into the Freeport with us, with thousands more jobs.”

Estimates by the East Midlands Freeport board in September indicated about 55,220 direct and indirect roles would be created by the project, with the bulk based at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site.

The remainder would be based at two separate hubs – next to East Midlands Airport and the Toyota island near Derby.

East Midlands Parkway railway station, which sits adjacent to the power station, has also been confirmed as the new destination for a high-speed train line connecting to the HS2 hub at Birmingham.

Ruth Edwards (Con), Rushcliffe’s MP, said: “The great thing about the freeport is it plays to our strengths, with sites across Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

“It’s brought together local government across all three counties, the public and private sector, and it’s really important that we do work together to maximise the region’s potential.”

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s cabinet documents state there are “sizeable areas” of the power station currently not in active use that could be utilised under freeport and DevCo plans.

Plans for the site would turn it into an industrial, manufacturing and research hub specialising in low-carbon and green energy generation.

The cabinet is recommended to approve the LDO on November 23.

 

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