A move to build a wind turbine near South Hinksey would damage “iconic views” of Oxford, the city council has been warned.
Council leaders have given the go-ahead for a detailed examination of four possible sites for Oxford’s first wind turbines, all on city council-owned land.
But they were immediately warned by Oxford Preservation Trust that the move would send out the dangerous message that even Oxford’s most famous views were no longer protected.
A detailed study will examine whether the “community scale” turbines, which generate electricity, could be built close to Hinksey Heights Golf Club and at Cutteslowe Park.
While turbines overlooking the city would be viewed as a symbol of the city’s commitment to green energy policies, some local residents say they would be an “abomination” on the most sensitive site outside the city.
Each turbine would be 80m high, with 45m spinning blades, meaning its size would be comparable to the length of a football pitch.
The two new sites join land near the BMW car factory at Cowley and at Sandford Brake, south of Greater Leys, which were singled out as prime locations for the 125m generators earlier this year.
Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust, warned that the proposal to put up a wind turbine at Chilswell Farm, near South Hinksey, would be bitterly opposed.
She said: “To propose this in front of the dreaming spires on city council-owned land seems just extraordinary.
“What sort of a message does this send out, particularly when the effect of the pylons at South Hinksey are there for everyone to see?”
The Preservation Trust owns land nearby on Boars Hill and in the Hinksey area. It acquired the sites specifically to protect the views of the dreaming spires.
The South Hinksey site, though owned by the city, is actually within the Vale of White Horse District council boundary.
The Vale would ultimately have to decide on what would be a highly controversial planning issue.
Local Vale councillor Gareth Jennings said: “I feel this would be a blot on the landscape. I am also worried about the noise.”
But Oxford City Council leader John Goddard said: “We should remind people these turbines are very quiet – they are even quieter than the wind itself.”
By Reg Little
20 March 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding