A wind turbine – perhaps more than 50 metres (160 feet) high – could be erected on the Downs, close to Bristol Zoo.
Architects behind the scheme say it would power 400 local homes year round – and “advertise Bristol’s status as Britain’s green capital”.
A team at architects Stride Treglown, based on Clifton Down, is looking at options and seeking a partnership with an operator – such as Stroud-based Ecotricity – to take these forward.
A planning application is a long way off. But architect Robert Delius and business development manager Amy Thatcher are looking at a site off Circular Road, not far from one end of the famous Ladies’ Mile. Close by is the zoo’s overflow car park.
“Wind turbines are normally sited in inaccessible places and in large numbers,” says literature produced by Stride Treglown. “We are proposing to create a unique opportunity to visit one in a city.”
The team is putting forward the idea of an adjoining information centre for the large number of visitors expected to be attracted by the landmark turbine.
There are already three 130-metre-high turbines at Avonmouth, with plans for two more.
Wessex Water is also consulting with the city council over a plan to build four similar-sized turbines just north-west of the M5/M49 junction near Kings Weston Lane.
But – apart from a scheme that has now reached the planning stage for a turbine in the heart of Manchester – the Stride Treglown scheme could be a first for a city site, say its designers. They say the exposed location would have favourable wind conditions and minimise the impact on neighbouring areas.
They say noise would be minimal and the turbine – which could be seen from the Portway and would probably be twice the height of the Clifton suspension bridge’s two piers – would be an attractive landmark.
“We’re proposing a power station in the heart of Bristol, a power station that taps into free unlimited energy, doesn’t create pollution and is safe,” says the team’s literature.
Bristol launched its bid to become a “green capital” of Europe a year ago this month with a fanfare of publicity. Mr Delius said: “We want to provoke a debate and answer the call made by the council last year to develop action plans towards a more sustainable future for Bristol.”
But last night Peter Abraham, former Lord Mayor, Stoke Bishop councillor and member of the Downs Committee, which manages the area, said the idea was outrageous. “I was shocked and flabbergasted when I heard about it,” he told the Evening Post.
Leaders of the 1,000-member Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society also indicated they would oppose the scheme.
Chairman Brian Worthington said: “The noise turbines make drives people from their homes and, in some cases, to seek medical attention.”
28 March 2008
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