New energy park will kill off our business

Reporter:

Emily Davies

A renewable energy park could kill off tourism near Oswestry, according to business owners.

Richard Connell, from the Oswestry Equestrian Centre, says the plans would be “horrific” for his business, while Miles Hunter, who runs the award-winning Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel in Rhydycroesau, says the project has not got the backing of the community.

Featuring a 102-metre wind turbine, 2,500 solar panels and an energy storage facility, the major Cefn Y Maes development would be on a vast scale and sit between Rhydycroesau and Selattyn, close to the famed Offa’s Dyke Path.

It is being led by Engena Limited in association with REG Power Management Limited, and will produce enough energy to power 554 homes each year.

A campaign against the plans have been launched – CARTE (Community Against Rhydycroesau Turbine and EnergyPark) – which has the backing of residents and businesses.

Mr Connell, who runs riding lessons, livery and a bed-and-breakfast at Carreg-Y-Big, said: “I’m horrified. This could kill our business.

“It’s easy to see the detrimental impact the turbine would have.

“It’s not going to be a good advertisement and although the noise might not trouble us, it would spook a horse and that could close us down.

“We are one the closest businesses to it, yet Engena have never come to us.

“Although they put us in their report to say it would be detrimental to us, no-one has been in contact with us. We didn’t have a consultation letter and we’ve contacted them but had nothing back.”

Mr Hunter, speaking on behalf of CARTE, added: “We are bracing ourselves for the planning application to come in.

“They are calling it a community energy park – in fact that is quite cynical because community energy parks are intended to be developed with the inclusion of the community from the concept, but this has been developed in complete secrecy.

“There is overwhelming opposition to this.”

Mr Hunter added that among the many worries are:

n the height of the turbine that will be visible from Oswestry Racecourse, the Ceiriog Valley and the Berwyns,

n access to the site with 1,330 vehicle movements expected in the first six months, and

n the concern that it could lead to more developments in the future.

The biggest concern is the park application will go before Powys County Council later this year, while the support access and pylon applications will be looked at by Shropshire Council.

Mr Hunter added: “There will be a major impact on tourism as you will be able to see it for miles and I know the impact on our business will be severe.”

In the consultation, Claire Hewett, project manager for REG Power Management Limited, said: “The scheme has been designed using renewable energy technologies which complement each other in terms of generation.

“We are particularly enthusiastic about the addition of an energy storage unit which will allow the output to be used when it’s needed most.”

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