Ferrybridge: Call for more rail and river transport as plans for old power station site approved

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Plans have been approved to transform the former Ferrybridge C power station site into a major industrial and employment zone.

Up to 2,500 jobs could be created by the scheme which could generate £130m a year for the local economy.

Councillors gave the go ahead to the application by Mountpark Logistics at a meeting on Thursday (March 14).

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But they said more should be done to maximize the potential for rail and water transport at the site.

Up to 2,500 jobs could be created.Up to 2,500 jobs could be created.
Up to 2,500 jobs could be created.

The plant, next to the river Aire, was shut in March 2016 having produced energy for more than 50 years.

It was home to one of the biggest power generators in Europe with its coal-fired boilers producing enough electricity to power two million homes.

Robert Gilmore, speaking on behalf of the company, told the council’s planning committee: “The site has a strong industrial heritage and its economic development will bring new investment to the area.

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“Interest in the site is strong and occupiers are keen to invest in the Wakefield and West Yorkshire economies.”

The scheme includes building new roads to improve access to the old coal yard.

Works are also planned on Kirkhaw Lane and the Old Great North Road.

Councillors also agreed to grant outline planning permission for warehouse, office, distribution and storage buildings.

Work on site is likely to start later this year.

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Mr Gilmore said rail tracks which loop the site would be maintained and access to a wharf on the river would be retained for future use.

The meeting was told highways improvements would help reduce traffic congestion in the centre of Ferrybridge.

Committee members said they hoped more could be done to encourage alternatives to road transport when more detailed building plans are submitted.

Councillors Steve Tulley said: “Trains used to go in and out of that coal yard like a merry-go-round for years.

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“We are now looking at probably 300 to 400 lorry movements a day.

“Why isn’t more emphasis being put on the rail links into this place if we are going to have a green agenda?”

Councillor Kevin Swift said: “I find it regrettable that neither West Yorkshire Combined Authority nor Network Rail has made any proactive comments aimed at maximising this site for rail transport.”

New jobs are expected to include a range of skill levels, including management, technical, manufacturing and admin roles.

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Construction costs are expected to be about £110m, with 86 full time jobs created during the building phase.

The power station employed about 800 people at its peak.

The eight 380ft (115m) high cooling towers at Ferrybridge C were a familiar landmark to drivers on the nearby A1(M) road.

The structures were demolished in phases between 2019 and 2022.

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