Ambitious plan for Coder Road site in Ludlow

First published in News

THE closure of Ludlow’s waste disposal site could bring about a new mini eco park for the town creating new job opportunities.

Cwm Harry which has the lease on the anaerobic digester in Coder Road hopes to re-launch it in 2015 as a community power plant.

But The Advertiser has seen a briefing paper that will be discussed next month (August) of a plan that has the potential to regenerate the site as a hub for recycling.

At the core of the scheme would be a site where waste food is turned into electricity and heat which could then be used for new food production and to power new industries that would be built on the site of the Coder Road waste disposal facility.

The site is owned by Shropshire Council which closed the waste disposal facility earlier this year. It is understood that the site is due to go on the market in the autumn but that the council is willing to ‘soft pedal’ the sale to see if the new proposal can be made to work.

One proposition is that the depot on Coder Road could be used as a location for new entrepreneurs and community business. The idea is that they would be focused around recycling.

Among the kind of enterprises likely to feature if the project goes ahead would be furniture restoration and textiles including the manufacture of clothes.

It is also envisaged that the kilns could be used for the manufacture of glass products including windows, tiles and roof lights.

The briefing document prepared also envisages the site being used for the manufacture and supply of small electrical goods.

An important element of the scheme would be the provision of training with a woodworking workshop envisaged to train people in carpentry skills.

The discussion document envisages that all businesses involved in the project would be in some way open to the community and that the site would provide opportunities for apprentices to train and learn.

However, the key to the vision becoming a reality is the ability to make the site pay its way on a commercial basis. While it is recognised that no single business could do this it may well be possible with a community of entrepreneurs working together.

As a first step Shropshire Council has agreed to ‘soft market’ the site in order to enable to scheme for the community digester and recycling hub to prepare a business plan to get off the ground. This could involve the acquisition of the site on a six or nine month option to take it off the market.

However, the long term proposal would be to raise the funding that is needed to purchase the site from Shropshire Council which is under pressure to get as much as it can from the disposal of assets including land that it does not need.

If the project can be made to work it would result in a community owned hub providing power and heat as well as a range of recycling based jobs and training.

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