Controversial plans to build an ‘energy park’ on the site of Castleford’s former Hickson and Welch chemical plant have been scrapped to make way for hundreds of new homes.
Proposals to build Castleford Energy Park on the Wheldon Road site were first announced in July 2012.
But now the site’s owner, Castleford Energy Village Plc, has confirmed it has axed the scheme and instead wants to build up to 1,000 homes on the land and at the former Nestle site.
David Frohnsdorff, the company’s manager and shareholder, said: “Before we submitted a planning application for the energy park we spoke to the council and we got a firm response from them which was ‘no’.
“They made it quite clear and said that we would not be able to develop an energy park in the Wheldon Road area of Castleford.
“There was very little public consultation but we engaged in pre-application discussions and they were negative to the point where we thought we would have to go to judicial review and we don’t have any appetite for that.”
Mr Frohnsdorff said the decision to scrap the energy park plans was made around 18 months ago.
He added: “It would have seen us fighting for years and, frankly, what’s the point?
“A housing development on the site would offer more than an energy park.
“If you’ve got 1,000 families living on the this site, that’s real regeneration.”
Mr Frohnsdorff said the company’s latest plans would see the Hickson site – which closed in 2005 – “cleaned up” within two years.
The whole scheme, which would see development of 172 acres of land on the two sites, could be complete within five years, subject to planning permission.
Castleford Energy Village Plc has submitted a planning application to demolish the former Nestle factory, which closed in 2012.
Subject to the application being approved by Wakefield Council’s planning department, the Nestle site would provide the first phase of the project.
Mr Frohnsdorff also said the company aimed to develop Bridge Foot roundabout as part of the scheme.
He added: “Over the next ten years this will be a completely different part of Castleford and we want to be part of that.
“ We understand people’s concerns when they see a planning application going in by a company called Castleford Energy Village Plc.
“But we are, and must be viewed as, residential developers.
“The public will be made fully aware of everything we are doing before we put the planning application in.”