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Saltaire civic groups have called on the Council to abandon water energy plans at Roberts Park
A Saltaire historian described building a water turbine at Roberts Park as akin to putting solar panels on the pyramids of Giza.
Saltaire History Club feel Bradford Council’s plans for the £1.2 million scheme at the park should be scrapped, and argue deeds from the 1920s state the river should not be interfered with.
The club is one of six stakeholders the council consulted about the project. Two of these, Saltaire Village Society and Friends of Roberts Park, have already opposed the plans, and the history club has now decided to join them. They released a statement saying: “Saltaire History Club declares its opposition to the Council’s proposal and calls upon them to abandon its current project and find a better solution to its renewable energy needs.”
The Council argues the turbine could cut carbon emissions by 23,000 tonnes over the next 40 years, and would “pay for itself” after ten years.
Roberts Park was set up by Titus Salt in the 1870s and bought by Sir James Roberts in 1891. He then handed it to Bradford Council in 1920.
Descendants of both men have signed a petition to stop the turbine’s construction.
Dave Shaw, a member of Saltaire History Club and local historian, said: “The park was given to the Council on condition that it would be used exclusively for recreation and that the river flow would not be interfered with.
“These conditions are contained in the deeds signed by Bradford’s Lord Mayor in 1920.
“Quite apart from the morality and legality of ignoring these covenants, the economic case for the turbine is very weak.”
He says that with half of the local stakeholders against the scheme, the pressure is on the Council, adding: “It’s not something they can just dismiss.
“They have to respect Saltaire as a world heritage site. You don’t see solar panels on the great pyramids of Giza. I’m sure they can find other sites to meet their energy needs.”
Not all members are opposed to the plan. David Ford, who runs Saltaire Bookshop, said: “I hold a different view to the one expressed at the meeting. I feel it’s important Bradford invests in renewable energy.
“No planning submission has been made yet, so what people are doing by opposing it already is closing down any debate about what it’s going to look like.”
Richard Williamson, the Council’s environment and climate change manager said: “The design has gone into a pre-planning consideration stage during which we are inviting feedback from statutory consultees such as the Environment Agency and English Heritage. The feedback will inform the project’s final design.
“We are also seeking legal advice on what is viable with regard to the charitable status of the park, so we hope to have a clearer position in the near future.”