Huge plans for Nottinghamshire site which could produce electric vehicle batteries

Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station Photo: Alan Murray-Rust CC BY-SA 2.0
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Ambitious plans could see a Nottinghamshire power station site transformed into a hub of low carbon energy production including a hotel and eateries.

Huge plans for the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site in Rushcliffe reveal that the land could house a ‘gigafactory’ to produce batteries for electric vehicles.

The huge Nottinghamshire site is around 265 hectares – which is equivalent to 495 football pitches.

Tesla constructed its first gigafactory in the Nevada desert in the United States – and a West Midlands gigafactory was recently approved for land at Coventry Airport.

Rushcliffe Borough Council documents state that up to 760,000 square metres of accommodation could be built along with 10 hectares of solar power generation.

A “community hub” on the site would provide services for staff, including retail outlets, food and drink facilities and a hotel.

The proposed development “sets to transform the current coal-fired power station into a diverse, multi-occupant, low-carbon and green energy, and advanced manufacturing hub”.

If approved, the entire site would be walkable and “multi-use games areas and welfare spaces will turn the masterplan into an attractive place to work”.

The coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station power station will be decommissioned in 2024 – meaning that large areas of the site will soon be up for redevelopment.

Landowner Uniper is working with Rushcliffe Borough Council to develop a “shared vision” for the redevelopment of the site.

A request for EIA Screening Opinion has now been sent to Rushcliffe Borough Council to assess the environmental impacts of the proposals.

Council documents state that the plans would make a “positive contribution towards reducing carbon emissions across the UK and contribute to supporting the local community and economy”.

There are a number of other plans in the works for Ratcliffe-on-Soar – Nottinghamshire County Council granted planning permission for a waste incinerator on the site last year which is due to commence in 2023.

And it was announced last year that HS2 lines will also terminate at the nearby East Midlands Parkway.

A “significant proportion” of the proposed low carbon energy site is also within the East Midlands Freeport.

Further plans revealed in 2021 could see the world’s first energy fusion plant built after Ratcliffe-on-Soar was shortlisted by the Government as a potential site for STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production).

A Uniper spokesperson said: “Rushcliffe Borough Council is working with Uniper to explore options for the future redevelopment of the site. The emerging vision for Ratcliffe is to move towards becoming a zero carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands, supporting continued economic growth, and helping to meet the region’s decarbonisation goals.

“The Council recently invited local residents to have their say on the site proposals and a Local Development Order (LDO) that could grant planning permission for a range of modern industrial uses on the redeveloped site, including advanced manufacturing, low-carbon energy production, battery production, energy storage, logistics, and research and development.

“Rushcliffe Borough Council held a public consultation on the initial plans for the site, from  29th November 2021 to 10th January 2022. The public consultation period is now closed, and the feedback received is currently being reviewed.”

Council documents state that it is anticipated that the whole of the development could be delivered by the end of 2042.

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