With its eight cooling towers visible from the Peak District, Fiddler’s Ferry Power station has dominated the skyline for 50 years – and now it will get a new lease of life. Tony McDonough reports
A new masterplan for the Fiddler’s Ferry power station site is being put together and will lead to the creation of industrial space and new homes.
And owner, Peel NRE – part of Peel L&P, also plans to include parkland and wildlife areas on the 820-acre site. Located on the River Mersey between Warrington and Halton, it is one of the largest brownfield sites in the country.
Fiddler’s Ferry Power station was a coal-fired facility that started generating power in 1971. It had a generating capacity of 1,989 MW and took water from the River Mersey. It was privatised in 1971 and finally closed in March 2020 as part of the Government’s plan to phase out coal-fired power stations.
Its eight cooling towers were regarded as among the most prominent landmarks in the North West. Each cooling tower was 374ft high with a chimney rising to 660ft. The facility was visible from as far away as the Break District.
Peel NRE acquired the site from energy company SSE Thermal. Its proposals will include the demolition of the former energy facility and restoration of ash lagoons. This will make way for new developments for industrial use and the creation of a new “sustainable community”.
Plans will also create extensive new parkland and wildlife areas to enhance the environment. They will be delivered in partnership with Peel L&P’s homebuilder Northstone and specialist UK logistics development business PLP.
The Fiddler’s Ferry site, which also includes agricultural land, was identified in the 2021 version of the Warrington Local Plan. It was earmarked for the development of around 250-acres for employment use and a minimum of 1,760 new homes.
Kieran Tames, development director for Peel NRE, said: “Fiddler’s Ferry power station has been a local landmark and part of the community for many years. As the UK moves away from the use of fossil fuels for energy generation, the site was recently decommissioned by SSE.
“We now want to work with local people to develop exciting new plans and mark a new era for the site that best respects its history and meets the future economic, social and environmental ambitions of Warrington, the neighbouring district of Halton and their communities.
“As echoed in the draft local plan, employment, housing, parkland and wildlife areas are a key part of this. With decades of experience regenerating towns and cities across the UK, we are confident that we can bring forward proposals that build on the strengths of both areas.”
Peel NRE will also help to oversee the land remediation of the site and will be in touch with the community as plans progress.
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