A Shropshire company is appealing to the public to get behind its fight to prevent a proposed pylon route from “desecrating” the county’s countryside and its tourism attractions.
The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry claims that the plans by National Grid will have an adverse impact on its own business and also on the local tourism economy.
Kenny Anthonisz, spokesman for the company, based at Aston, said he was worried the firm’s attempts to improve tourism in the area could be hit.
He added: “We are already attracting a huge number of parties of all ages who are enjoying our many attractions including our sculpture park, museum of steel sculpture and interactive workshop experiences. Many exciting plans are in progress – we are shortly to unveil our latest attraction, a falconry centre.
“Now we appeal to the people of Oswestry to join us should we need to take direct action in opposing these plans. We are working hard to provide tourism opportunities and work actively to promote tourism in the town. We are deeply concerned about the impact on the centre, our town and county should these worrying plans proceed.”
Mr Anthonisz said the proposed pylons, which would connect new wind farms in Powys to the national power grid, are a direct threat to the future of the centre’s sculpture park, which has already attracted a huge level of interest from public and sculptors alike with many high-profile artists loaning internationally-recognised exhibits for inclusion within a visiting artists programme.
He said: “We have yet to receive any firm assurances from National Grid regarding their plans. With such a wide and continually growing range of opportunities and attractions, we have concerns for employment, as our expansion plans would see our permanent team of locally-recruited staff rise to more than 60.
“With this serious threat continuing to hang over one of the town’s largest assets, we are appealing to townsfolk to demonstrate their support publicly if direct action is needed.
“The proposed pylon route will desecrate the Shropshire countryside. Why spoil a resource that has so much to offer to the town and county?
“If any worried residents are unable to give us their support in person at our demonstrations, we would urge them to write to National Grid and to Owen Paterson, our local MP, to voice their concerns. It is imperative that we let National Grid know of the strength of opposition to their plans.”
National Grid has said it will work with businesses and residents to cause as little disruption as possible. It has been asked to put in the new power lines by Scottish Power, which is hoping to create several new wind farms in south Powys.