AN exciting £1.3 million project to harness water flow from the River Avon in Pershore and use it to power the town's leisure centre is underway.

The new hydropower generator is being built at Wyke Manor Farm, near Pershore, with ground being broken this month after five years of planning.

The project is being funded largely by Charles Hudson, who owns the farm, which is more famous for its petal power producing Real Flower Confetti.

It will see two 15 tonne turbines convert 20 tonnes of water into 750,000KW hours a year, the exact amount required to power Pershore Leisure Centre.

Wychavon District Council have also invested £300,000 but will in turn make back £30,000 a year by selling the electricity.

Mr Hudson said he was "excited" to see the start of the project which has suffered set backs due to regulations and flooding.

"We started about three weeks ago so there is quite a lot going on on site. The first stage is putting deep piles into the ground to protect the banks of the channel that is going to contain the turbines.

"It is exciting that we are at last under way. I hope we will be up and generating towards the middle of the summer."

The idea was initially forged by Mr Hudson to produce enough money to keep the £30,000 a year market town partnership, when the funding came under threat.

But it was purely by coincidence the amount of power that will be generated on average by the scheme is the exact amount used by the leisure centre.

"The fascinating thing was when we did the modelling of the river flows we worked out it would produce 700KW hours a year. We asked the leisure centre and it was the exact amount, unbelievable.

"The great thing is they are going to be able to buy cheaper green energy. And it's going to be there forever. One longs to see more of this."

Despite his passion for green energy projects Mr Hudson faced some opposition to the plans.

He says this has now died down.

"All the democratic bodies are completely in favour of it," he added. "The opposition was a small group. This is investment for future generations.

"I have lost a lot to flooding. This stops us being in tears every time it rains, we can at least be happy we are generating electricity."