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Posted On: 04-10-2022
Posted In: Community

View over Exe Valley Leisure Centre car parkMid Devon Leisure users are being encouraged to plan for disruption at both Exe Valley and Lords Meadow car parks, as energy improvement works begin.

From Tuesday 4th October parking at the two leisure centres will be severely limited, as major work gets underway to install ground and air source heat pumps. The pumps will allow both the sites to move away from high cost, fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

In the short terms this means leisure customers will need to; find alternative parking, walk, cycle, arrange to be dropped off or car share to access the limited spaces available. For anyone who still needs to drive to the facilities it is strongly advised that you plan for extra time to attend activities that have a fixed start time such as classes and swimming lessons and club use on the outdoor pitches. All facilities remain open as normal during the period or works.

Cllr Dennis Knowles, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said:

“This work shows we are investing in our community facilities, future proofing them for our customers, reducing our long term energy costs and moving towards our carbon neutral ambitions.  But we also know this work will also be frustrating for our customers who will face some disruption outside the buildings and we apologise for that.”

As part of its decarbonisation drive, the Council has secured £2.8 million of funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix. The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.

Work at the car parks involves drilling deep bore holes underground to access the heat. This means heavy machinery will need to be temporarily installed in both car parks and the area needs to be made safe for both leisure customers and those working on the site. The work is anticipated to be completed in early December.

The works will affect the main car park at Exe Valley Leisure Centre and the rear car park at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre. Limited alternative parking may still be available locally and customers are encouraged to park away from the site during this period. Due to the location of the Exe Valley site it is likely there will be traffic congestion on the surrounding roads, impacting on journey times in the area.

Cllr Stuart Penny, Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services, said:

“Nationally the provision of swimming pools is declining, so I am especially pleased the communities of Mid Devon have access to high-quality leisure centres and as a Council we continue to invest in them, to support our customers, even if we must endure some short term inconvenience to reap the benefits.”

The £2.8 million funding follows a successful bid for more than £300k in 2021 from the same scheme, which was used to replace the lighting at the Council’s three leisure centres with modern, energy efficient LED lighting.