Tesco’s plans to build a wind turbine in King’s Lynn have sparked concern they could pave the way for the disruption of many more town-centre skylines.
The supermarket giant intends the 45-metre turbine to be generating power, equivalent to the usage of 80 homes, from the Hardwick Road store’s car park by the end of the year.
A Tesco spokesman said they were considering several measures to reduce their carbon footprint and they would use the most appropriate solution for each of their 2,000 shops.
But as the store chain expands, campaigners fear the plans could set a precedent for the building of more towering landmarks in built-up areas if they are approved.
Desmond Waite, of the Bridge Street Residents’ Association, wrote to council planners warning that similar proposals “could adversely affect the character of all our towns, cities and the country if the principle continues to be justified”.
He said: “There is a risk of replication and we have to be aware that if that takes place we might get quite a number of these turbines around us. That is what the principal problem is.”
Tesco expects to halve its 2000 energy consumption figures by the end of 2008 and has set up a £100m fund to invest in renewable energy schemes in an effort to cultivate a more environmentally-sensitive image.
Corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman said: “This is part of a huge project we have to reduce our energy use.
“We feel we have addressed all the concerns. There is detailed analysis of where the turbine should be placed and the council will only give us permission if we pass the appropriate tests.”
Mr Kissman refuted reports the company had approved secret plans to build turbines at virtually all of its stores.
“There are no secret plans, but a public commitment to invest in sustainable technology,” he said. “To say that every single store could have a wind turbine is stretching it a bit.”
A second town-centre turbine could be on its way to Lynn as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital continues its consultation into a planned 80-metre generator.
An officer’s report to West Norfolk Council’s development control committee recommends the Tesco development be approved at their meeting on Monday.
The report says: “It is accepted that the structure would be prominent within the street scene, however the visual impact needs to be balanced against the environmental benefits of the development.”
# Full-sized copies of the Tesco plans can be viewed at West Norfolk Council’s Customer Information Centre on Chapel Street, King’s Lynn.
29 February 2008
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