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From coal to low carbon: Rugeley Power Station to be transformed into 'sustainable village'

Rugeley Power Station is set to be transformed into a 'sustainable village' under plans to build more than 2,000 low-carbon homes on the site.

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Coal-fired Rugeley Power Station closed down in 2016

Full details of the plans are yet to be revealed, but the French owners of the former coal-fired power station say they want the homes to be entirely powered by renewable energy.

Nearby residents will be able to have their say on the plans for the Armitage Road site at a community planning weekend in Rugeley from November 30 to December 4.

And it is expected that ENGIE, the electric utility company that owns the 374-acre site, will begin the pre-planning process in March next year ready for an application to be submitted in the spring or summer.

Alongside the sustainable homes, ENGIE wants to build a 'substantial' number of commercial buildings on the site, creating permanent local jobs for the area.

The demolition of the power station is expected to take more than two years

About 30 per cent of the homes are planned to be put aside for affordable housing, while a number will be made into homes for the elderly.

ENGIE is hoping that half of the green energy powering the homes will be generated on site through solar batteries and photovoltaic solutions.

Early stages

Colin Macpherson, development director at ENGIE, said: "The scheme we are developing is still in its relatively early stages, we're still in discussion with the wider community and two local authorities.

"We're trying to find out what people think about the scheme because clearly it's important for the local people to be involved.

"We're looking at how we can decarbonise the plot, so we're looking at how we can improve the quality of the insulation so it would be more energy efficient, there will be more smart technology around the homes, and to introduce battery solar panels.

"The move to take what was historically a carbon-polluting site and convert it into something that is a low carbon site for people to live and work is really really important to me, my team and the business.

"The ability to reduce the footprint is something we hold quite dear to our hearts, that's the driving force for us."

Demolition work

The regeneration of the power station will be the first time such a site in the UK has been repurposed by the energy company that owns it.

However up to two-and-a-half years of demolition work needs to take place before any new homes can be built.

Lichfield District Council and Cannock Chase District Council have both approved the demolition, which is being carried out by a contractor appointed by ENGIE.

Wilfrid Petrie, ENGIE's UK chief executive, said: “Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward for the redevelopment of a former coal-fired power station.

"ENGIE’s decision to retain ownership and lead the repurposing of the site builds on our track record of going beyond energy and confirms our position at the forefront of the UK’s transition towards lower carbon, more energy efficient development.

"We are pleased to be committing to continuing our long-term presence at Rugeley and look forward to engaging with the local community to shape the next chapter of the site together.

"Our ambition is to create a new landmark in placemaking and sustainable living.

"We hope that our plans will help to stimulate the local economy and be an enabler of investment into future growth for the area.”

Rugeley A power station opened in 1961 while Rugeley B power station, which provided enough electricity to power around half a million homes, followed nine years later.

There were plans to convert the power station to run on biomass fuel in 2012 but they were never carried out.

The station eventually closed in June 2016 when 120 jobs were lost.

The planning weekend will be held in Mansfield House, Market Street, Rugeley.