£11.3m boost for Cockenzie Power Station site regeneration

£11.3m boost for Cockenzie Power Station site regeneration

The regeneration of the former Cockenzie Power Station site has received a £11.3 million boost.

East Lothian Council’s bid for UK Government Levelling Up funding has been successful.

The site was purchased by the council to support future economic growth and to create employment opportunities.

A submission was made to the Levelling Up Fund to secure funding in support of the site’s regeneration and, say the local authority, “make it developable”.

Funding will be used to:

• Remove the bunds from around the former coal store, increasing the area that is developable and improving access

• Use bund material to infill the hole where the former power station building was sited to create a level, developable platform

• Infill the former underground power station cooling ducts

• Repair the sea wall and make flood protection improvements

• Make improvements to the John Muir Way along the promenade area of the site

The council says it will be working up plans for this in due course and consulting and working with nearby communities.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, the council leader, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the council’s bid to secure funding from the Levelling Up Fund has been successful.

“The former Cockenzie Power Station site has significant potential in terms of helping to boost the local economy, creating high-quality employment opportunities and delivering sustainable growth.

READ MORE: Boost for climate change centre at Cockenzie site

“We’re determined to ensure the site benefits the local community and reflects community aspirations to provide jobs in the area.

“There is a lot of work to do in the months and years ahead but securing this funding is the next step towards progressing the site for future development. It is a very exciting prospect.”

Local ward councillor Lachlan Bruce added: “This investment by the UK Government in our local community is great news. We desperately need more jobs based here in East Lothian.

“This huge £11.3 million boost from the UK Government will give us the ability to start on that journey to deliver thousands of jobs at Cockenzie but the hard work starts now in delivering this project.”

Councillor John McMillan, the local authority’s cabinet spokesperson for economic development, said the successful bid was “excellent news” for East Lothian.

“It is a further step forward on the way to achieving our ambitions for economic growth in the county,” he added.

“It is also testament to the vision of former Council Leader, the late Willie Innes, who believed the former Cockenzie Power Station site would have a key role to play in creating employment opportunities locally.”

READ MORE: How new substation at Cockenzie Power Station site will look

Craig Hoy MSP (South of Scotland) added: “I am delighted to see the UK Government investing into our local community.”

The former Cockenzie Power Station site was acquired by East Lothian Council in 2018.

A significant amount of technical work has been taking place, says the council, to fully understand and plan for the necessary infrastructure and environmental, economic and sustainability work that will be required for this key site to be delivered.

The previous National Planning Framework (NPF) 3 identified the site as of strategic national significance for thermal energy generation and carbon capture and storage.

The draft NPF4, published in early 2022, identifies the site for economic development – giving more flexibility for future use. Finalisation of NPF4 will enable the council to move forward with plans.

Planning permission is in place for parts of the site to be used in support of energy developments.

In 2019, Scottish Ministers granted planning permission in principle for an onshore substation, electricity cables and associated infrastructure to Inch Cape Offshore Ltd on part of the site.

READ MORE: New road to Cockenzie Power Station site mooted

In August 2021, the council’s planning committee unanimously approved outline planning permission for Seagreen to construct an electricity substation on another part of the site, taking power from an offshore windfarm and feeding it into the National Grid, with associated underground cabling.

It is proposed that a master-planner be appointed to consider the development potential of the site generally and identify constraints and core infrastructure to divide the site into development parcels.

East Lothian Council says that technical work will continue to assess development potential as part of the wider Blindwells new town area and also for a potential Climate Evolution Zone, looking at flood risk and mitigation.

Liaison will continue with Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust and Scottish Development International regarding the potential marketplace for UK-wide or international investments. This will include further assessment of investment in a data centre, in response to a Scottish Futures Trust study which identified Cockenzie as a potential site.

An agent will also be appointed to develop a marketing strategy and market the site UK-wide and internationally.

According to the local authority, these actions will “contribute to development of the vision and continue progress towards development”.

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