Neighbours’ noise concern over Eaton Socon water screw power plan

The Rivermill Tavern, Eaton Socon. Picture: ROGER SKILLIN

The Rivermill Tavern, Eaton Socon. Picture: ROGER SKILLIN - Credit: Archant

A plan to install a state-of-the-art water screw in Eaton Socon that could generate enough electricity for 40 homes has been described as “unacceptable” by neighbours.

If Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) grants planning permission for the micro hydro scheme, which will use a three metre-wide Archimedean screw connected to a generator, it will be installed on the River Great Ouse behind the Rivermill Tavern in School Lane.

Applicant Doug Barns, who lives at Mill House in School Lane with his family and owns the freehold of the pub, said he hoped the scheme would become a focal point and provide low carbon electricity.

But several neighbours have formally objected to the plan as they are concerned about noise, environmental impact and parking, which is already a problem in neighbouring streets.

Kev Eastham, who lives in nearby Ackerman Street, said he had major concerns. “It sounds like a great idea to bring people to the area but the planners need to think about the environmental impact.

“They play live music at the

pub on Tuesdays and Thursdays but at least that stops at a reasonable time whereas this will be all day and all night.”

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Mr Eastham said he had visited other water schemes and described the sound of the blades hitting the water as a “booming noise”.

Other objectors said the screw would destroy a “peaceful and tranquil setting” and “cause misery and blight on a large number of homes”.

Some had fears that the noise would mean they would not be able to open their windows or sit in their gardens.

HDC’s environmental protection officer, Aaron Morley, said he had no objection providing “mitigation measures are adhered to” and “noise conditions are set”.

The Wildlife Trust has asked that “appropriate measures” be put in place during construction to protect wildlife and the applicant considers enhancing the natural features of the river during the process.

Mr Barns told The Hunts Post the screw “rotates quite slowly” and would be housed in a concrete shed which would dampen down the noise.

“I have sat down with environmental health officers and they have measured the noise at other sites and I am confident that it will not be an issue,” he said.

The planning application should be heard in the next six weeks.