THE developer that has bought a large area of the former Didcot A power station has been warned it should not build houses on the site.
Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber said Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd should concentrate on using the 116-acre area for businesses after it was announced the firm had struck a deal with owner RWE npower.
Clowes had suggested part of the land, which is in the Vale, could be used for housing.
Mr Barber said: “It’s possible that housing could be built there but most people would look at this objectively and say you can’t just turn the land into a housing estate.
“It’s a brownfield site but you couldn’t start building there tomorrow – a lot of decontamination work would have to be done first.
“We have to make sure that there are enough jobs to go with the new homes that are being built in the area, including those at Great Western Park and Valley Park.
“Most of the land that has been sold has to be for commercial use and there is a great opportunity there for companies.”
The power station closed in March last year as a result of EU regulations to cut carbon emissions.
Clowes has signed a deal with RWE npower to buy the land behind the three southern cooling towers, previously occupied by the power station’s coal storage site.
According to developers, the land has the potential to be redeveloped “for a mixture of uses” including commercial and residential, and work on clearing the site has begun.
Clowes’ chairman Charles Clowes said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree this land deal, which will see the derelict site being transformed.”
Didcot town councillor Des Healy, a union convenor at the power station from 1974 until 1999 when he retired, said: “I think the site would be totally unsuitable for any form of housing.
“It should be used for commercial and industrial use and generate more jobs for the area.’’ The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
Developer’s project portfolio
CLOWES Developments (UK) Ltd was founded in 1964 by chairman Charles Clowes.
It has freehold ownership of 41 properties in England – a mixture of industrial, commercial, office, retail and residential property.
Of these, 23 are completed and let while the remainder are in various stages of development.
The company has offices in London and Derbyshire. Spokesman Neil Harvey said the firm has recently developed a site near Alfreton, Derbyshire, close to junction 28 of the M1, for commercial and retail use.