Energy park to spark £100m of investment

A GROUNDBREAKING £50 million energy park earmarked for Bulwell could create about 300 jobs and bring £100 million of investment to the area.

That’s the declaration from Nottingham City Council as it begins its search for a private-sector partner to work with it on the state-of-the-art initiative, which is proposed for a site on Blenheim Lane allotments.

The ambitious scheme would use low-carbon renewable energy created on part of the site to supply competitively-priced power and heat to new factories built on the remaining land.

The imminent release of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) will be the first major step in marketing the site to potential developers. This is part of a formal European Union (EU) process.

The PIN outlines what the council is looking for with the environmentally-friendly scheme. It also explains how potential developers can express an interest in becoming the council’s partner for the project on the 6.7-hectare site.

The council’s portfolio holder for energy and sustainability, Coun Alan Clark, a Labour member for Bulwell Forest ward, said: “Over the past year, our idea for an energy park has attracted a lot of interest from Nottingham based companies as well as national and interrnational organisations across the energy, waste, construction and technology sectors.

“Releasing the PIN will be a key stage in ensuring that something finally happens to this overgrown site. It will support our ongong discussions with interested parties to ensure we realise our aim of creating job opportunities.”

The deputy leader of Nottingham City Council, Coun Graham Chapman (Lab), said the energy park would maintain Nottingham’s unique position as the UK’s most sustainable city while creating jobs, which was one of the council’s top priorities.

Potential developers will be invited to submit an expression of interest during March. The council will evaluate each one’s resources and capability and draw up a shortlist of possible partners who will be asked to come up with a detailed proposal.

Informal planning guidance for the site was given the green light last month. This will ensure that proposals from potential developers minimise any negative impact on the environment, nearby houses and local businesses while actively boosting Bulwell’s economy.

The Blenheim Lane site was earmarked for employment use in the Adopted Nottingham Local Plan 2005 after an inquiry.

Opposition to the energy park was expressed by a small band of allotment holders who said they had a right to stay on the land.

But Coun Chapman said the council would provide compensation and support the gardeners to apply for alternative plots in the area.

At one stage, famous Nottingham bike manufacturers Raleigh hoped to build a massive factory on the land.