A major refurbishment and carbon-cutting makeover of Wellington Sports Centre has been given the green light.
Somerset Council has given final approval for essential maintenance and grant-funded ‘decarbonisation’ improvements at the centre which is owned by the Council and managed by Everyone Active.
Works are expected to start in mid-November and should deliver carbon savings of nearly 220 tonnes per year – contributing Council’s commitment to create a greener and more sustainable county and address the Climate Emergency.
The decarbonisation works are possible thanks to a successful bid to the Public Sector Decarbonation Scheme (PSDS) to cover the additional work which includes:
- Replacing a fossil fuel heating system with Electric Air Source Heat Pumps.
- Replacing and upgrading the ventilation unit.
- Installing solar panels onto the building roof.
- Replacing and upgrading windows and doors.
- Replacing the roof and improving its insulation.
The project will cost £3.6m, of which around £1.3m would come from the Council’s successful bid to the PSDS to cover the additional sustainability work. The PSDS scheme is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and is delivered by Salix Finance.
Everyone Active is investing a further £500,000 to provide a brand new 55-station gym – moving it to a single-floor location and installing new equipment to make it a state-of-the-art facility.
Construction work is expected to last around ten months. Although the centre will not close entirely, there will be unavoidable disruption until the project completes next summer.
The swimming pool will unfortunately be shut for the duration of the work.
The gym will remain open throughout the project, but the sports hall is expected to be out of use for around 11 weeks and the exercise studio for around eight months.
Local schools and clubs using the pool and other facilities have been contacted by Everyone Active and, where possible, offered alternative provision at the company’s other sites in Taunton.
Somerset Council will work with Everyone Active to keep customers updated and keep disruption to a minimum.
Councillor Ros Wyke, Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets, said:
This popular centre needs essential works to keep it fit for purpose and safe. What we have done is seize the opportunity to transform the building environmentally at the same time using external funding – a win for the community now and in the future.
Councillor Dixie Darch, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:
Centres like this are energy hungry, but they are also hugely important to the health and wellbeing of the local area. We considered all the options carefully and this project combines maintenance that had to be done anyway with decarbonisation improvements that will help us towards fulfilling the commitments in our Climate Strategy.
Mark Washington, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said:
These upgrades will significantly reduce the centre’s carbon footprint and benefit our members immensely in the long term. Everyone Active is proud to work alongside our local authority partners, to support them in achieving their net zero ambitions, as well as our own net zero strategy. We’re also excited to upgrade our gym, transforming it into a modern facility that existing and new members can enjoy.
Salix Finance client support officer Caterina Bartelloni said:
We are looking forward to working very closely with Somerset Council on this ambitious project to reduce carbon emissions. Not only will it deliver carbon savings but it will result in buildings that are more comfortable to use by the community.