Plans for £750m power station step closer

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
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PLANS to build a new £750m power station on a former chemicals site in Yorkshire have taken a step forward after developers secured £2.5m to carry out major preparation work on the land.

The remediation and infrastructure works will pave the way for a new power station to be built in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, and operated by Irish energy company ESB, which could deliver around 1,000 construction jobs.

St Paul’s Developments received the funding from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places fund which provides loans for projects that will create economic and employment growth in the city region.

The plans are currently being considered by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey. He will decide whether to accept the planning application by April 2015.

If approved, the power station, planned for the former 110-acre Oxiris chemical works site in Common Lane, could power as many as two million homes.

Dennis Enuson, development manager at St Paul’s Developments, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from the Growing Places Fund to enable us to further prepare the site for the power station project which would represent a significant investment into the Leeds City Region.

“Our long-term vision is to bring the redundant site back to life by creating a mix of uses which can happily co-exist on such an extensive site.”

Those behind the scheme claim it would result in an off-site boost to local businesses such as restaurants, accommodation and other service providers.

Bosses anticipate it being up and running by 2018 if approved. The scheme will use gas from an underground pipeline.

The site was granted Special Policy Designation in September 2012, which gave St Paul’s Developments flexibility for its potential uses.

Mr Enuson said: “The Special Policy Designation will enable us to maximise the potential of the site and due to its scale, we can create a sustainable environment in a high quality landscaped setting.”

St Paul’s Developments’ vision is to build an energy centre with additional long-term plans for employment and residential uses.

It has already completed the first part of the site’s preparation with the demolition and decommissioning of the 25-acre section of the site which had been the home of Oxiris Chemicals for around 70 years.

The first phase of development will be the creation of a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station on a 50-acre plot.

St Paul’s Developments applied for the loan from the Leeds City Region LEP in order to prepare the site for handover to ESB. The loan will be repaid and then made available to other projects.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “This project represents an ideal use of our Growing Places Fund and we are pleased to support the regeneration of this brownfield site.

“In the longer term, the benefits that this work will bring to the city region are significant, including substantial inward investment, the creation of both short and long-term jobs, new opportunities for businesses and newly built homes ”

Power stations that generate more than 50MW of electricity are labelled as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and, in order to get planning permission, bosses had to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for an order.