Hickson’s: energy park plan

Hickson and Welch
Hickson and Welch

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an energy park at Castleford’s former Hickson and Welch chemical plant – creating thousands of jobs – have been announced by the site’s owners.

Radical proposals by Aeternum Capital to build ‘Castleford Energy Park’ on land at Wheldon Road are detailed on the company’s website.

A three-page document outlines plans to build a recycling plant on the “contaminated brownfield site” as well as creating a centre for renewable energy, which the company claims will “bring the site back to life.”

The report states: “Castleford Energy Park would bring together a mix of hi-tech industry and advanced recycling and renewable energy technologies to bring this site back to life. With a design team focused on creating high-specification, sustainable buildings, green spaces and restored walkways along the River Aire, this development will rejuvenate the riverside area of Castleford.”

According to the plans, the plant will deal mainly with recycling from Castleford, Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford and create renewable energy from the by-products.

The report adds: “It is estimated that hundreds of jobs will be created on the site itself as well as new permanent jobs as a direct result of the development. In addition, thousands of jobs will be available during the construction phase.”

The document markets the energy park as a “community resource”, proposing to open a visitor centre, a waste facility where families and businesses can recycle their goods, as well as supporting Castleford Tigers Rugby League Club by establishing a “local community trust.”

The report concludes the company is “fully committed” to consulting the community on the proposals and adds: “We will shortly announce the launch of our formal public consultation process.

“We will invite Castleford residents and surrounding communities to see us at our public exhibition and learn more about the proposed energy park.”

A spokeswoman for Aeternum could not confirm when consultation was likely to take place.

A Wakefield Council spokesman confirmed the authority had not received a planning application for the proposals.

Coun Peter Box, council leader, said: “The redevelopment of the site will be a major step forward in the regeneration of this area of Castleford, but it is essential for local people to get the opportunity to have their say and see what Aeternum is proposing.

“I hope that Aeternum will begin their public consultation as soon as possible.”

Richard Wright, Tigers’ chief executive, told the Express: “At this stage we are unaware of the details regarding Aeternum’s plans both for the development and their support of the club. We look forward to learning more of their plans and it is certainly the case that any support of the club is welcome.”