The closure of Ferrybridge Power Station, with the loss of up to 400 jobs, will have a big impact on the whole of the Knottingley and Ferrybridge area.
That’s the message from business leaders, residents and community leaders in who have spoken of their shock at last week’s announcement.
Site operators announced the plant will close by the end of March 2016 owing to rising costs and new environmental legislation.
Rachel Speak, manager of Ferrybridge Community Centre, said her 18-year-old son Brandon was hoping to secure an apprenticeship at the power station after studying electrical engineering at college.
She said: “I can’t see them taking people on now. He is going to be really disappointed.
“I’ve got a lot a friends who have worked there who are going to lose their jobs.
“We run a lot of clubs at the community centre, like dancing and karate. When parents lose their jobs it has a knock-on effect on kids.”
Businesswoman Amanda Clarke, 49, said she would have thought twice about buying the Bus Stop Butty Box Cafe on The Square at Ferrybridge 10 months ago if she had known the power station was to close.
She said: “Contractors come and stay in Ferrybridge so the power station is very important for business.
“Plus, we have got regular customers from the site as well.
“It would be a big blow to Ferrybridge if the power station shut down.
“There are locals that have worked there for years and years. I think it will affect everybody’s business in Ferrybridge and the local areas as well.”
Ferrybridge councillor Graham Stokes said the announcement was a “sad day”.
He said: “The village of Ferrybridge has been associated with power stations as long as I can remember, even before Ferrybridge C was built in the 1960s.
“We hear all the time that the economy has turned but it certainly doesn’t feel like it in Knottingley and Ferrybridge at the moment.
“We must do all that we can and redouble our efforts to bring new industries and jobs to Ferrybridge and Knottingley.”
Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford, said: “T his is awful news not just for the 170 people who are employed directly but also for the hundreds of contractors who are set to lose their jobs as well.
“This is also devastating for Ferrybridge and the area and comes on the back of job losses at Kellingley Colliery.”