Willington Parish Council

Serving the people of Willington

Clerk/RFO: Rachel Male
2 The Cottages, Bakers Lane
Doveridge, Ashbourne
Derbyshire DE6 5LA

Power Station

For more than 50 years Willington Power Station was a dominant feature of the skyline, with its tall chimneys and five huge cooling towers. For many locals when travelling by road the sight of the these said clearly that they were approaching home!
The building of the coal fired Power station and the associated Sports and Social Club commenced after a public enquiry in 1956 involved the demolition of two farms and the clearance of a large wood, famously known as Potlocks Wood, adjacent to Twyford Road. The station was cooled by water taken from the River Trent and there were five large cooling tower, which dominated the landscape, which were used to ensure the waste water, which was returned to the river, was sufficiently cool so not to affect the local environment. Initially there were 4 x 100MW boiler units built by International Combustion Ltd ('A' Station) which were adjacent to the road , then B5008 later B5132. These were supplemented by the building of 2 x 200 MW Babcock boilers in 1963 behind the A Station

The pipe line used to pump waste ash from the Power Station
to nearby gravel pits, near Twyford Road railway bridge in 1957.

The station was formally opened on 2nd of October 1959 by His Grace the eleventh Duke of Devonshire. A twin16" diameter ash disposal pipeline ran down the railway embankment and crossed under the Twyford Road on its way to fill the in the gravel pits off the Repton Road, with pulverised fuel ash from the power station. Ivy cottage, close to the bridge, had to be demolished as a result of this causing vibrations. The twin ash pipes initially ran to Clay Mills gravel pits beyond Highbridge, crossing the Egginton Brook on a steel space frame bridge. Later the lines were truncated to fill the so called Repton gravel pits at Willington, but the eventual demise of the Power Station meant this work was only partially completed, the remaining pits being taken over in 2006 to form the Derbys Wildlife Trust's increasingly famous Willington wild life reserve.

A view of the Power station, as seen from Twyford Road in 1992

The 'A' station operated without major incident until September 1994 and that part of the station closed down in May 1995. 'B' station operated for a few more years and finally ceased generation 30th March 1999.
Note The original design life of both boiler units was only 20 years and they operated for well over 30 years.

Work to clear the site started during 2000 and on June 29th the two 'B' station boilers and one chimney were demolished all at the same time, by explosive charges. This was followed in August by the demolition of 'A' station, again by explosives

One of the boilers from 'B' station collapsing after explosive
charges were detonated in 2000.

A major feature which has dominated the skyline of the village for almost forty years, the twin chimneys of the station, were demolished, in simultaneous blasts, on the 3rd of October 2001. The next major demolition, again by explosives, was on the 23rd November 2001, when the structure of the turbine house was flattened. Only the five cooling towers now remain standing in 2011.
RWE (NPower) the current owners of the site, after various failed planning attempts to build up to 1000 house on the site, are currently in the process of seeking permission to build a new gas fired station, making use of the adjacent switchgear installations and other infra structure.

Alan Gifford
June 2011