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Shock at mega turbine plans

A wind turbine nearly four times the height of the Angel Of The North and one-and-a-half times the height of 
Nelson’s Column could stand in front of the Ravensden 
water tower.

Offgrid Power, have filed an application with Bedford 
Borough Council to build the 78-metre-high turbine on land owned by local farmer Ted Wootton. The company claims that villagers will benefit from the technology with discounted bills.

But residents and councillors have reacted with shock claiming that the structure would blight the landscape, lower house prices and become a land mark visible from as far away as St Neots.

“This is a David and Goliath battle”

Plans to build a wind turbine at the top of Sunderland Hill in Ravensden have shocked residents and councillors.

But the fact that the land is owned by Ted Wootton, who’s son Tom Wootton sits on Ravensden Parish Council and Bedford Borough Council has added to their anger.

The Times & Citizen approached Tom Wootton this week and asked him why he did not inform fellow parish councillors about his father’s plans.

He said: “I didn’t know about it. He has been kicking this idea about for some time but he didn’t tell me that he had put it in.”

He added: “It is my father’s plan and he didn’t ask my advice.”

Mr Wootton also confirmed that any discussion of the plan by either councils would not involve him as his family is linked to the scheme.

Kathryn Watts, a Ravensden resident who will attend a public meeting at the village hall on Monday from 7.30pm, said: “This is quite clearly a David and Goliath battle, we are looking to Bedford Borough Council to prove that it is representing the interests of all the residents of North Bedfordshire, and not just the interests of a single landowner, and turbine speculators who are based in Northamptonshire and don’t have to live with the consequences of this unlike those who live here.”

She added: “Tom Wootton should know better than anybody, because he has known this area for the whole of his life, exactly what the impact of this would be in terms of noise, seismic vibrations and the height of this structure which would tower over all of the houses.

“You might wonder why it is that he and his family might contemplate being behind the building of such a thing.”

And Helena Walker, chair of Ravensden Parish Council, expressed her shock at the short notice of only being given til February 28 to respond to the planning application.

She said: “It’s just come completely out of the blue, we saw the application in the paper, listed as a minor development, and consequently our clark received the plans for the turbine a week ago last Saturday and that was the first that the parish council knew anything.”

She added: “The turbine would become a landmark that we don’t want.”

Bedford Borough Councillor Stephen Moon, who represents Ravensden, has also spoken out against the plan, claiming that for some residents it would be ‘absolutely devastating.’

But Peter Snell, operations manager for Offgrid Power which has put in the planning application, said: “I think wind turbines are appropriate for anywhere as long as they fit all the planning grounds.

“The UK needs more renewable power and this turbine would be able to provide power for the whole of the village.”

Go to www.bedfordtoday.co.uk to view our video report from Ravensden