East Midlands Freeport

Planning Application Ref 22/01339/LDO

Update 1

Tuesday 30th August update

The Times is reporting that Uniper has negotiated a deal to keep Ratcliffe Power Station ‘online’ in exchange for a fee (up to £420m).

No time limit is advised, but the delay in the closure of Ratcliffe might allow more time for consultation on the LDO and perhaps a more thorough assessment of the impacts of the development and the most appropriate mitigation.

Initial Report

Saturday 27th August update

Tom Barton, Clerk of the Parish Meeting wrote:

"This is a huge application - 250 acres of buildings up to 40m high, creating over 15,000 jobs (newly revised figure), making it larger that the EMG scheme next to the airport.

The effects on West Leake and the surrounding area are massive and I have been asked to emphasise this to all residents. In particular the transport assessments that highlight the increases in traffic that will make "crossing the road more difficult" and describe the impact on Main Street and Dark Lane as "significant". Not even the A453, M1, A50, A6 or side roads near the site are expected to have this level of change. There could be a 6,000 people commuting to the site by car and our roads cannot cope with that. A village group is preparing a response to Rushcliffe Borough Council, which you are most welcome to use as a guide to send a letter / email of your own. Please email me at mrsjbarton@yahoo.co.uk for a copy or see on this site very soon.

  • This is an outline of the scheme and how it affects West Leake. A template with the key points on it will be produced in the next few days for you to use as a base for a response to the Council.

  • In the meantime, please make people aware of the impact of this proposal and, in particular, people who live in East Leake as they are largely unaware of the impact on them regarding traffic.

  • The Parish has written to the local MP for a meeting as well as to the Leader and Chief Executive of Rushcliffe Borough Council.

  • We have also asked for the exhibition that took place in Gotham and Thrumpton be brought to West Leake. 

  • Our fear is that this is a political agenda item to find a site for a Government backed scheme, the Borough Council are desperate to please.

  • The Council are only allowing a very short window of time for consultation and then that will be it so we are asking to be involved in more consultation now and throughout the planning process.

  • Proposed Local Development Order for development at Ratcliffe Power Station. To include Energy generation and storage, Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial- including a Giga-Factory, Logistics  R&D offices, Education, solar panels and community hub/hotel.

  • This a huge application - the biggest ever in the area - 250 acres of buildings up to 40m high creating over 7000 jobs- making it larger than the East Midlands Gateway (EMG) scheme next to the Airport.

  • The development is part of the Government’s strategy to create a number of Freeports around the country.  These sites will be offered tax incentives and grants to attract businesses to them.

  • The sites have to be operational by September 2026 in order to qualify for the Government incentives. Therefore, this application is being rushed through the planning process in a matter of months with very little consultation.

  • As a comparison, the EMG at the airport took 10 years to progress including Public Inquiries and very high levels of community involvement.

  • The application is for a Local Development Order. This basically gives an outline permission to the application.

  • Once granted the permission will have numerous conditions attached to it. Once set, those conditions will not be changed and the developer can proceed with the development without the need for further local consultation.

  • Whilst the Power Station is due for demolition in 2024, this is by no means certain. The permission could still be granted in stages allowing, for instance, the development of the huge factory south of the A453 to go ahead 1st. The rest of the site could then be developed as and when the Power Station is no longer needed.

  • It is obvious that the Power Station site should be re-developed after its useful life but it is felt that extending the site to include land south of the A453 is inappropriate and “profiteering” by the land owner of the application site, Uniper. Also, the scheme is poorly thought out in terms of its relationship with the surrounding area.

There are several impacts on the village, in particular:-

VISUAL IMPACT

  • For example, the factory south of the A453 is seeking approval to be 40m high.

  • By comparison, the highest building at EMG is 30m.

  • There is little or no effective screening of the site as the tallest trees south of the site are only some 12m high.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

  • Most of the land south of the A453 is green open space where the ash pits have been remediated to provide many acres of wildlife habitat including woodland and grass areas. This will all but disappear.

  • There are some proposals for relatively small areas of planting but these are insignificant to the areas being lost.

  • The bio-diversity plans are very minimal and questionable in its assumptions.

 

TRAFFIC IMPACT

  • This is the biggest threat to our Conservation Area and beautiful surroundings.

  • According to the application, there are expected to be over 15000 people working on the site once it is fully operational.

  • Of those, 80% will travel by car.

  • The Transport Assessment states that the increases in traffic directly resulting from the development will “make road crossing more difficult” on Main Street West Leake and the adverse traffic impact on Main Street and Dark Lane as being “significant”.

  • No other roads in the area have this level of impact- not even the A453,M1,A50,A6 or side roads closer to the site.

  • This is totally unacceptable

 

MITIGATION

  • The plans show very little to mitigate these impacts.

  • There are some improvements to Junction 24 of the M1, the crossroads at New Kingston but not much else.

  • In comparison EMG off-site infrastructure cost, demanded by the Council, were in the region of £70m as well as a £10m bypass around Kegworth.

  • The Power Station development is showing only a fraction of that sort of mitigation.

  • The scheme is not integrated into the transport network.

  • The tram may, one day, link to the site but that could take 10 years or more to build.

  • There is no footbridge linking Parkway Station to the new site until much later.

  • The bus stop is on the edge of the site meaning employees will have to walk to their place of work across the site.

  • There are no new proposed cycle routes from the south of the development meaning that Dark Lane, for instance, would have to be used by cyclists as well as the huge increase in cars.

  • The roads in the area, particularly to the south of the site will be used as access to the site.

  • Already we see numerous cars, each day, travelling through the village from the East in order to access the A453 either into Nottingham or to the M1.

  • In addition, huge numbers travelling from the A6006 cut down Trowell Lane and then up Dark Lane to again access the A453. This will multiply hugely when the development is built.

  • There are no other suitable access roads