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Bradford Council criticised over Saltaire turbine scheme
Bradford Council has been criticised for spending almost £27,000 on the first stages of a green energy scheme in Saltaire that is not guaranteed to go ahead.
Last year the Council commissioned a feasibility study into installing a water turbine on the River Aire at Roberts Park.
The turbine will cost £1.15 million, but figures obtained by the Telegraph & Argus show £26,898 has been spent on the plans, even before a planning application has been submitted. That figure includes £19,894 for the feasibility study, £1,029 for pre-planning application advice and £500 for a 3D printed model of the proposed turbine.
Some in the village believe the turbine would harm Saltaire’s World Heritage Site status.
Dave Shaw, of Saltaire History Society, has questioned whether the Council has the legal right to build a turbine on the river. He says that when given to the Council by Sir James Roberts in 1920, deeds stated the park could only be used for recreation.
Shipley MP Philip Davies, Saltaire Village Society and the Friends of Roberts Park are other high profile objectors.
Bradford Council has stood by its scheme, saying building a turbine would be legal and that the study could help with similar projects.
Mr Shaw said: “It is a total disgrace that such money was spent before the Council and its officers checked whether they had any legal right to use the land.”
Andrew Thornton, executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “The Council's legal services have considered the issue of the covenants.
“It is our view that the scheme will not have any adverse impact on the recreation facilities of the park, nor will it interfere with the flow of water past the adjoining land named in the deed, and therefore does not breach the covenant.
“The feasibility study indicates that a hydro-electric scheme on the north bank of the river is practical, can be delivered and will be economically viable. It will generate 371,000 kWh/pa of electricity for at least 40 years. It will pay for itself in approximately ten years so makes financial sense.”