Plans for a refurbished and greener Wellington Sports Centre have cleared an important hurdle.
The proposals cover maintenance works needed to keep the building fit for purpose, along with a suite of ‘decarbonisation’ improvements funded by a government grant.
The project still needs planning approval before it can proceed and a decision on this is expected in mid-October. In the meantime, key councillors have endorsed in principle the plans for the centre which is managed by Everyone Active and owned by Somerset Council.
The building’s boiler, ventilation unit and roof all need replacing as part of essential maintenance works. And, the council is looking to seize the opportunity to use grant funding to make additional improvements to energy efficiency and sustainability.
Proposed works include:
- 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.
It is estimated the new building would deliver carbon savings of nearly 220 tonnes per year.
The cost of the project would be £3.6m, of which around £1.3m would come from the Council’s successful bid to the Public Sector Decarbonation Scheme to cover the additional sustainability work.
The Council has submitted a planning application for the works and a decision is expected in mid-October.
If the project gets the go ahead the sports centre would remain open during works but there would be unavoidable disruption to facilities including the swimming pool. Somerset Council will work with Everyone Active to keep customers updated and minimise the impact.
Councillor Wyke, Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets, said:
Essential maintenance works have to happen soon if this popular facility is to remain fit for purpose.
We’ve spent a lot of time considering a variety of options, and this is the most cost-effective approach that also delivers environmental benefits.
Councillor Darch, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:
Even in difficult financial times, it’s important that we seize opportunities to make the council and its assets more sustainable where we can.
This is just such an opportunity and the end result would be a great asset for the community, one that is more energy efficient and helps to reduce our carbon footprint.