Letter from Nantwich
Written in 2018 : Updated
in April 2023
THE scheme to
produce energy by utilising the power of the
River Weaver has taken a further step towards completion,
expanding what they are going to do.
The Nantwich Mill Community Energy Company
are now planning
to build two hydro turbines on the River
Weaver in Nantwich. One will be on the Mill
Island weir which they had initially
planned, and there is now another further
along the river near to Beam Bridge on the
The plans also include
solar panels which be placed on the roofs of
business customers properties in town. These will
provide energy to them at a discount, says the
Community Energy Company is described as a
"not-for-profit community benefit company generating
say that they are investing in climate change
action, cutting energy costs and delivering a
positive funding feedback for the environment and
community of Nantwich.
is supported "in principle" by Nantwich Town Council
and Cheshire East Council.
company is invited people to be involved who can
offer expertise and business customs. They are
looking for business sponsors and investors.
buy "shares in the future", says the
website, adding that "community
share experts are on board to manage a
community share issue."
More information can be found on
the community energy company says big energy users have already
signed up to get involved, including Reaseheath College and Engine of the North
developer Carlton Holdings.
National renewable energy experts Locogen
and Derwent Hydro, who have delivered
similar projects across the UK, have been
engaged by the community company.
BACK in 2018 I
wrote the following:
"For the past 12 years at least -
according to the various articles in "A Dabber's Nantwich"
have been plans to construct a Nantwich Mill hydro-electric scheme in the
Riverside, providing electricity for events on Mill Island.
I've been in favour of
that since I first heard about plans for it. When it was just an
idea, a hope for the future.
Now that has come a
little closer with a group of six local people, the partners, launching a website appealing
for promises totalling £220,000 to construct such a scheme.
In February 2006, in a Letter from Nantwich on this website, I wrote:
"Now there is an idea of
using the cascading water to drive a turbine to provide electricity in
Occasional events such as the Battle of Nantwich or Nantwich Food Fair (this is no longer held on Mill Island) could be provided with electricity from such a turbine.
"Yes, a generator
could be provided with the same result, but this new idea would save
having to use petrol (or whatever) to run the generator. Mother Nature
would be the source of power.
"All far fetched? Let's wait and
see. Such ideas have a habit of becoming reality."
Then, after Cheshire East Council were facing some
in February 2010, there came news of a new organisation that is now well established -
Greenspaces South Cheshire.
"Hopefully, the new Greenspaces
organisation will be able to bring the project to fruition."
THINGS have changed a little
since those early days, not least in that the mill race by
Mill Island and the Waterlode will not be the location
for the turbine.
Of course, it
was never officially said that the mill race would
be the chosen spot.
As the project website
says: "Delivering clean green electricity, from an
unobtrusive water turbine slotted into the weir on the
River Weaver in the town centre, the project will power
up the historic mill site contributing to the town's
reputation as a thriving centre for food, culture and
quality of life."
The weir links the
river to what is now known as the Weir Pool (I have
always called it The Willows). The website refers to it
as The Tail Pool.
The new website says the Nantwich Mill
hydro scheme "is all about tapping into
the power of nature, generating funds for local action,
while helping tackle the massive international challenge
of cutting climate changing carbon emissions."
For more information visit
What will it
cost and who will pay for it?
project needs "hundreds of people, and local companies, to
pledge their backing for the project.
"In the long
run, we hope you will become shareholders committing
seed-corn funding that will pay back benefits for the
local community year after year."
stress: "We don't want your money now - just your
pledge." When the time comes an e-mail will be sent
to potential donors who have made pledges.
the project look like? The website has illustrations
of the turbine (that's one above) which has an
Archimedes' screw in it, and a sketch superimposed on a picture of the weir
Who would support
the project? There are links to similarly-minded local organisations: Nantwich Civic Society, the Rotary Club
of Nantwich, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Greenspaces South
Cheshire CIC, and the South Cheshire Friends of the
The tail pool, aka the
Weir Pool or The Willows.
The turbine will be sited
on the right of the weir, in the shade in this image.
paragraphs in this article were taken from the
website of Nantwich Mill
Hydro Generation Ltd, edited and comments added
The picture of the
turbine (left) is the copyright of Carter Jonas
2016. Again from the website.
Other pictures are the copyright of this
Who are the
Behind the project are
Porritt CBE is a chartered engineer and Co-Founder
of the Forum for the Future, a world-wide organisation.
Herbert, a Nantwich resident since the early 1990s,
he is "committed to the town and its quality of life."
He is a founder member of South Cheshire Friends of the
Schofield is a Nantwich businessman. Born in
Nantwich, he is a director of the family business with
extensive property interests, and has won accolades for
listed buildings in the town
is a retired engineer. He worked in the defence and
aerospace industries. He is interested
in the country's industrial
heritage and promoting engineering to the younger
Butterill "is a force of nature. If you see a green
space in Nantwich he is likely to have planted it." The
former Chairman of Nantwich in Bloom, Doug is Company
Secretary of Greenspaces South Cheshire CIC. He is a
former Councillor on Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council
and a former Mayor of Nantwich. "Says he is retired but
you would never know it."
Timperley, "the Mill's financial brain," is a
retired chartered engineer, spending most of his career
in the property industry. He is a founder member, a past
president of the Rotary Club of
Crewe and Nantwich Weaver.
of the Partners is
Stephen Welch. A director and chartered building
surveyor and chartered building engineer, he is on the
board of Byrom Clark Roberts, a multi-disciplinary
practice specialising in architecture, building
surveying, civil and structural engineering, and expert
There are three
more partners - more about them shortly: James Thompson,
Paul O'Brien and internationally renowned singer and
songwriter, Thea Gilman, a Nantwich resident.
Chairman of Nantwich Mill
Hydro Generation Ltd was the late Fred Bowers.
In his days, there was a plan for 79 houses
to be powered by the Nantwich Mill hydro project.
He also gained fame with the
annual Weaver Wander driving event organised by the
Rotary Club of Crewe and Nantwich Weaver.
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