Flintshire Council has responded to feedback over the installation of a hydropower scheme at Wepre Park labelled a "monstrosity".

The new hydropower turbine was recently installed at the Wepre Park waterfall as part a collaboration between Flintshire Council and University College of London to explore the opportunity of generating renewable electricity at the dam to supply the Visitor Centre.

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A Flintshire Council spokesman said: "The weir was identified by University College London (UCL) as being ideal for the testing of their new turbine technology due to the levels of water flow and the height of the weir. 

"The weir at Wepre Brook was originally constructed for the purpose of generating hydroelectricity, so it was thought plausible to resurrect this once again."

The Leader: Hydro-power turbine at Wepre Park Credit: Sue OwenHydro-power turbine at Wepre Park Credit: Sue Owen (Image: Sue Owen)

The development was granted planning permission in 2018 with original documents stating it will reduce the grid electricity demand at the visitor centre by around 36%.

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The development did not undergo a public consulation as it is in a testing phase however, according to Flintshire Council, "should any installation become permanent then a full planning application will be submitted."

The current installation is a trial to allow UCL to test its prototype turbine and generator for a number of weeks.

Dependent on the results of the testing there may be the opportunity to make the installation permanent – however, it is at this stage in which the design and cladding would be reviewed and any permanent installation would be more in keeping with its surroundings.

The Leader: Hydropower turbine Wepre park: Credit: Sue OwenHydropower turbine Wepre park: Credit: Sue Owen (Image: Sue Owen)

The feature has met some harsh criticism in the Connah's Quay Community Facebook page with over 300 comments slamming the development. 

Cari Hooson said: "Saw it today absolutely devastating for the natural beauty of the waterfall."

Nic Joy added: "Two words HORRIFIC & DEVASTATING change to a beautiful park".

Jane Jones said: "That is an utter disgrace! Ugly and shocking to see that monstrosity in a nature setting. Who? What? & Why?"

Some commenters questioned the decision for the installation, Julie Sheady said: "It is an abomination!! How on earth has this been passed???? From a beautiful waterfall to this urinal!"

Many commenters were disappointed with the appearance of the turbine despite the proposed development of the clean energy. 

The Leader: Wepre Park waterfall March 2022. Sue OwenWepre Park waterfall March 2022. Sue Owen (Image: Sue Owen)

A spokesperson at Flintshire Council said: "We understand that some people have criticised the design of the installation and its impact on the natural setting, however as detailed above this is a temporary measure while we undertake testing of the technology. 

"It is important that Flintshire County Council explores all options to meet its commitment to net zero in a cost effective way."

Flintshire County Council has indicated that this development is related to its Climate Change Strategy and commitment to achieve net zero by 2030. 

Wepre Park is located in Connahs Quay and boasts parkland as well as a visitor centre and cafe.