What's going on?
In order to help Bradford Council meet its renewable energy targets, it is planning to build a hydro-electric turbine in Saltaire, West Yorkshire.
So what's the problem?
Saltaire is a World Heritage Site; a model village built to house the workers of a colossal Victorian mill and deemed worthy of protection by UNESCO. The turbine will be constructed in the village's recently refurbished Robert's Park risking a recreational space valued by many nationally.
But the planet's in trouble we have to do something!
Absolutely! But this project is cosmetic, just contributing 0.5% to the council's energy. In this economy, at £1.2 million (which could be much more effectively spent) is it really worth it? Especially when a terrifying precedent will be set. If Saltaire has to bend it's knee to this agenda, what happens when the council looks to the traffic problems and starts drawing in a bypass across Saltaire again?
Think it doesn't look that bad?
The artists impression (above) of the turbine is misleading, omitting the viewing platform and the removal of mature trees. It will destroy for ever an iconic view of Saltaire which ironically the council often relies on to promote tourism in the area. The construction of the turbine will drastically alter the entire view of the eastern end of the park. The image provided is calculated and partial compared to the reality park users will face
A view of the weir from an old postcard
LINTON FALLS TURBINE
Linton Falls Turbine
We've been checking out some hydro turbines in the Yorkshire area and shot some footage of the turbine built at Linton Mills in an old turbine house, an English Heritage scheduled monument.
It gave out a low industrial bass line hum and an incessant whine and we were concerned that would now become a feature of our rare bit of peaceful open space in our urban environment.
Health and safety issues were also highlighted by the warning signs everywhere raising concerns amongst us at the placing of something like this so close to a popular playground. We all know Robert's Park has been a target for metal thieves since the refurbishment and are very worried this will be targeted too.