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Wind turbine update

Submitted by on October 23, 2013 – 10:17 am10 Comments
Marston Mill wind turbine - works are now underway

Marston Mill wind turbine – works are now underway

Anyone who has visited in the last week will have noticed the Forest Centre’s overflow car park has been taken over by cabins and big machines. Yes, it’s finally happening! After a bit of a wait and a false start, operation wind turbine has begun.

The first stage involves upgrading the existing track all the way from the overflow car park to the wind turbine location. This is to ensure it is wide and strong enough to take not only the construction traffic but the exciting final delivery of the turbine itself. Widening of the existing track will continue until early November when the contractors will turn up the hill and construct a new track to the turbine location.

Inevitably there will be some disruption to access from the Forest Centre out onto the Park. Luckily, our visitors will still be able to get to the vast majority of the Park at all times; it may just involve a slight detour from the usual routes. Maps have been placed out on site and in reception, these clearly indicate which paths are closed and which are still accessible.

There is more information about the construction of a wind turbine in the Millennium County Park here. If you have any problems or want to know more about this exciting project, please call in to reception or call 01234 767037. Or tell us what you think here

10 Comments »

  • Tony says:

    Absolutely disgusted by the lack of foresight that has been given to this. I met a couple trying to extricate a wheelchair from the only access to the east side of the park along what used to be the bridle path.
    Why could the gate not be unlocked in the arena field so that there is easier access to the east side of the park?
    Would it be naive to think that this will not happen because revenue will drop?
    Positives for this project – the country park will be self sustainable and surplus electricity will be fed into the national grid.
    Negatives – a 110m eyesore situated directly behind one of the most beautiful and peaceful sites in the park. Noisy. Will the public even be allowed to go there again?
    I am voting with my feet. Back to Ampthill Park!
    (Was this the same country park that voted in favour of the Covanta incinerator monstrosity?)

    • The Forest says:

      The site moderators have brought your comment to my attention as CEO of the Marston Vale Trust and I would like to answer the points you raise.

      Contrary to your comment, a lot of thought and negotiation has gone into the on-site works that are currently being undertaken in preparation for the installation of a wind turbine at the Millennium Country Park. I am aware that diverting access from the permissive granite fines track, to the grass bridleway has caused problems underfoot. The grass area has deteriorated far quicker than expected due to the wet weather recently and is now quite muddy. Whilst we have tried to alleviate the situation by putting some wood chip down, the problem remains.

      Over the next couple of days, 450m of geotextile covered by wood chip will be laid by outside contractors. This will make the whole section usable again for pedestrians and horses but unfortunately it will not be suitable for wheelchairs or children’s buggies. However almost all of the other paths in the park are suitable for wheeled access; please ask at reception for help and directions.

      The Marston Vale Trust is a charity that is funded by public donation and our own social enterprise endeavours, the café, shop and Forest Centre, so we don’t intentionally aim to upset or inconvenience our visitors. On the contrary, we try to act on feedback to provide the best experience we can. When, as in this case, something does go wrong or causes a problem, we try to act as quickly as possible to improve the situation. I do hope you return and continue to enjoy the Country Park and Forest Centre in the future.

      Finally, I must point out your error in stating that we are ‘the same country park that voted in favour of the Covanta incinerator’. The Trust did not vote in favour of the planned Covanta plant; rather it remained neutral. The Trust’s policy on development within the Marston Vale is as follows:
      “Whilst the Trust will support development that directly meets the objectives of the Forest, the Trust is neutral on individual planning applications that do not directly conflict with the aims of the Forest of Marston Vale. Where development is planned, the Trust will work with developers and planners to secure a contribution to the Forest that is consistent with the Forest Plan and with the impact of the proposed development on the Vale”.
      The Trust has held this position since 2005, long before the Covanta development was proposed and whether permissions are granted is not a matter for the Trust, but for the appropriate planning authorities.

      Nick Webb, Chief Executive Officer of the Marston Vale Trust, nick.webb@marstonvale.org

      • Tim Hill says:

        I appreciate you were neutral – a position I profoundly disagree with – but please confirm either way whether you have ever received a donation from Covanta.

        • Sam Tree Hugger says:

          In response to your enquiry – no donation has been ever been received from Covanta. However as a conference centre, I do understand that in the past they have hired our rooms for community engagement. I hope that is clear enough for you.
          - Nick Webb CEO

    • Henry says:

      Who says it’s an eyesore? Modern wind turbines are finely sculpted objects with elegant beautiful lines. It will sit well in an area with an industrial history that really was ugly to look at. This is progress indeed.

      • The Forest says:

        Henry – thanks for getting involved.
        You won’t be surprised to hear that the Marston Vale Trust agrees with your comment. We appreciate that it is very subjective although the benefits to the Trust and the area are pretty clear. Even if one considers only the free electricity that will be enjoyed by the Forest Centre (just one of the benefits), that’s a whole lot of money saved that will be diverted to creating the Forest of Marston Vale.
        Sound good?

  • Carol says:

    The wind turbine looks out of place – much too big. The beautiful view across the vale from the Ampthill/Houghton House side is spoilt. Does the turbine actually work – have not seen it moving yet.

    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      The wind turbine is still being tested so that when it’s fully commissioned it doesn’t cause any power surges or anything – we’re expecting it to be working fully very soon

  • Tim says:

    I am desperately trying to get used to seeing this monstrosity every day and cannot believe you’ve installed this.

    I too am one of the people voting with my feet and won’t be visiting the centre again I’m afraid.

    What an absolute eye sore.

    • Colin Jones says:

      I can only agree with these comments. Sheer disbelief that the turbine has been installed in such an unsuitable location. I have been visiting the park for the last 10 years, used to be a Friend of Marston Vale and a regular user of the café. No more, having seen a beautiful public amenity desecrated in the misguided belief that the green energy it provides makes it justifiable, whatever the cost to the visual beauty of the area.

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