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Business plots plan for old Chapelcross runway

PLANS to create new jobs in the Annan area took a step forward this week after land at Chapelcross was purchased with a view for business development

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By Zac Hannay
Annan and Eskdale
Business plots plan for old Chapelcross runway
REGENERATION . . . the Chapelcross site

The South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), revealed they bought a 6.5 hectare section of zone three, the old runway, for £400,000 last month.

And surveys and assessments are now underway at the former nuclear power station site.

Working with partners, SOSE say they will create serviced plots on the land, with the aim of generating jobs and economic activity in the shorter term.

This development will support the Chapelcross Programme’s overall aim of building a new economy based on green energy production.

It is expected the surveys and assessments will be completed in spring next year, alongside utility connections for the purchased site.

A SOSE spokesperson yesterday said: “SOSE’s land purchase is a £400,000 investment in the future redevelopment of Chapelcross.

“The site has the potential to deliver much needed employment land for the area, which would greatly increase the opportunity for bringing inward investors and other businesses to the site, and could in turn provide jobs for the local area.

“The number of plots on the site is still to be finalised, with analysis ongoing to ensure we get the best layout that suits both potential investors and businesses, and fits with the ambitions of the wider Chapelcross site.”

The overall programme comprises a number of partners, including Dumfries and Galloway Council, Nuclear Restoration Services (formerly Magnox), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Scottish Enterprise, SOSE and the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

Chapelcross is a former nuclear power plant near Annan over 210 hectares in size, decommissioning work at the site started in 2004.

Up until 2028, only about 30 per cent of the land will be available for development. Thereafter, areas will become accessible incrementally, while the area around the reactors will remain unavailable until 2095.

Annandale South councillor and former Chapelcross worker Sean Marshall has welcomed the news, while also calling on the Scottish Government to start investing in new nuclear energy.

He pointed out the current SNP/Greens Government opposes the building of any new nuclear sites, even though the energy source has been cited as having a key role in reaching net-zero.

Mr Marshall said: “I welcome the announcement that tangible progress is finally being made towards economic regeneration at the old runway part of the Chapelcross site with potential creation of new jobs and industries.

“However, it also needs to be recognised the importance and value to the local economy of the existing work taking place at Chapelcross and the 200 plus jobs that will remain for many years to come until the former nuclear site is safely decommissioned.

“The ultimate aim is for a green energy site at Chapelcross, but it is about time that SNP/Green Scottish Government wake up and stuck their heads out of the sand by including new nuclear build, eg Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), in Scotland as part of the green energy mix to allow Just Transition to Net Zero.

“They should really be looking at their policy and allowing for new nuclear technology in Scotland.

“We have campaigned for decades for a new nuclear plant at Chapelcross.”

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