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Archimedes screw visitor centre plan takes turn for worse
3:00pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
A group organising a hydropower plant for Abingdon has abandoned plans to create a visitors’ centre.
Abingdon Hydro, the group behind the £1m scheme, says it has been told to alter its plans by planning officers.
The group originally wanted to build an indoor visitors’ centre overlooking the two Archimedes screws as they were turned by the Thames.
But now the plan is to have something more like a “bus shelter”, with a ceiling and educational display boards.
Group spokesman Richard Riggs said: “It is on Environment Agency land, so we would have had to do some bargaining anyway, but the council has said they would rather we just have interpretation boards so we will have to go back to the architects.
“We will extend the roof to create something like a bus shelter.”
The group applied to Vale of White Horse District Council for planning permission for the project in June.
It would see two large Archimedes screws installed at Abingdon weir in the Thames south east of the town.
The 3.4m-diameter screws would process about 5.5 tonnes of water a second, which could generate up to 100kW of electrical power – enough to power about 120 homes for each year for its 50-year life and the energy could be sold to the National Grid for £120,000 a year.
The group was granted a licence for the project in May last year by the Environment Agency.
It was granted on condition an agreement between the hydro group and white water canoeists is reached which means they can keep using the river.
The Vale council was originally due to decide on the scheme in August, but the group has been receiving more advice in the mean time from planning officers and the application will be decided at a date to be fixed.
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