The last remaining part of a closed-down Staffordshire power station has been demolished.
The four 117-metre high concrete cooling towers which have dominated the Rugeley skyline for decades were brought down in a controlled collapse at the weekend – years after the closure of the Rugeley B Power Station in 2016.
The demolition of the tower structures marks the start of a major redevelopment project and a new chapter for the town.
Now energy, services and regeneration specialist ENGIE is progressing with plans to redevelop the site into a low-carbon mixed-use community featuring 2,300 new low carbon homes, a school, 12 acres of employment space and a new neighbourhood centre and country park.
It will be the first time a major UK energy company will lead the repurposing of one of its own sites.
Colin Macpherson, divisional CEO for ENGIE UK & Ireland, said: “The next 10 years are crucial to address the climate crisis – and in the same timescale this regeneration project will become a reference of sustainable living, fit for the UK’s net zero future.
“The local people have been at the heart of every decision, concept and planning application, with our teams determined to deliver something special for the people of Rugeley – that will inject new life, jobs, homes and education into the community.
“This is a really meaningful example of building back greener and better in the wake of the Covid pandemic and we are lucky to have had the backing and support of Cannock Chase District Council, Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire County Council to bring this to fruition.
“We hope this regeneration could become a blueprint for other UK former carbon intensive industrial centres to create positive outcomes for their communities compatible with a net zero future.”
Council leaders described the demolition as a significant milestone in the redevelopment.
Cannock Chase Council’s leader, councillor Olivia Lyons said : “It was both an exciting and emotional day for the community. It’s exciting as it shows ENGIE’s ambitious plans for this brownfield site are starting to become reality, yet emotional too for our community. Local people like myself have grown up with the towers being such a dominant feature in the local landscape and they are visible for miles around.
“An icon of Rugeley is no more but there is no doubt a bright future is on the horizon.”
The leader of Lichfield District Council, Doug Pullen, said: “I’m delighted that we have reached this significant milestone in the re-development of this key site and can start looking forward to the opportunities that its regeneration will bring in terms of new housing, employment, education and leisure facilities working with partner authorities and with ENGIE.”
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills, Philip White, added: “Demolition of the cooling towers at the Rugeley power station site marks a significant milestone for its redevelopment. We will now begin to see the site being reshaped into a low carbon community with residential, employment, education and leisure space.
“It puts us at the forefront of sustainable development delivery which will be a model for other sites across the UK as we move towards a net-zero Staffordshire.”