A RANGE of environmentally-friendly decarbonisation measures will be installed at Crediton’s Lords Meadow Leisure Centre after councillors gave the go-ahead.

Existing gas boilers at the Mid Devon District Council-owned leisure centre will be replaced with heat pump technology, while solar car ports and additional solar panels will be installed to help reduce the building’s carbon emissions.

The work, which is also taking place at Exe Valley Leisure Centre in Tiverton, will allow both facilities to move away from high-cost fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

It will be funded by £2.8 million secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its public sector decarbonisation scheme.

Members of the council’s planning committee unanimously granted planning permission for the Crediton project on Wednesday, November 2, with one of the town’s representatives saying it is “the most wonderful thing that’s happened in Crediton for a long time”.

Councillor Jim Cairney (Lib Dem, Boniface) added: “I commend in the highest praise that we’ve actually been able to do this, because the swimming pool is the most expensive part of the leisure centre.

“The fact that we can actually heat pump the swimming pool means that we will have this facility for a whole lot longer.”

Councillor Frank Letch (Lib Dem, Lawrence) agreed, stating: “This is a wonderful thing to be able to blazon across the front page of the ‘Crediton Courier’, the ‘Mid Devon Gazette’, ‘The Sunday Times’, everywhere… because it’s putting Tiverton, Crediton and Mid Devon on the decarbonisation map, which is a really good message.”

Jim added: “Leisure provision is not a statutory service for Mid Devon District Council but this will help to guarantee that provision in Crediton.”

Cllr John Downes (LibDem, Boniface), who is chairman of MDDC’s Economy PDG, said: “This could result in the leisure centre becoming a revenue earner for a cash-strapped council.”

Ollie Heptinstall