A disused coal-fired power station in Staffordshire is set to be redeveloped to offer 2,300 new low carbon homes and a school.

Cannock Chase and Lichfield district councils granted outline planning permission for energy and redevelopment specialist ENGIE, who own the 139-ha brownfield site, to press ahead with the mixed development.

ENGIE UK & Ireland’s divisional chief executive Colin Macpherson said“We have been in positive and productive communication with all the relevant local authorities and local residents for many years now; as we pushed to drive forward with a powerful proposal that would enrich the local area and inject new homes, jobs and opportunities after the closure of the power station.”

Initial work will start to the north of the development, where the coal yards are.  Remediation will begin next month and should finish by the end of 2022. The cooling towers are due to be demolished on 6 June 2021, which will mark a milestone for the start of the redevelopment. Infrastructure work is to begin this autumn with housing parcels allocated following remediation.

Cannock Chase council interim managing director Bob Kean said: “As we recover from the pandemic the development of the former power station site becomes hugely significant for us. It is one of our main economic objectives in our new corporate plan and will help us realise our ambition to be a carbon-neutral district by 2030.”

The wider Rugeley masterplan includes more than 12 acres of employment space and a new country park alongside the River Trent.  ENGIE has incorporated significant local commitments as part of the section 106 agreement, including the delivery of a new neighbourhood centre and dentist facility.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said the low carbon development was an innovative one and just the type of project development finance lenders would be keen to back.

ENGIE is exploring how it can support and enhance amenities for several locally loved fixtures including the model railway, local allotments and the canal.

The former 1GW power station closed in 2016 due to challenging market conditions and competition from cleaner sources of energy, marking another milestone towards the UK closing all its coal-fired power plants by 2024.

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