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Solar panel canopies could be installed at Stratford car parks

TWO car parks in Stratford could be given an eco-friendly makeover to help cut the town’s carbon footprint.

Solar carports (54423271)
Solar carports (54423271)

Experts have been asked to look at whether it’s viable to install canopies topped with solar panels in the leisure centre car park, and solar panels on the roof of the building.

In theory, this could generate enough energy to power the centre’s electrical needs, as well as charge electric cars parked outside.

Stratford District Council, which owns the leisure centre and car park, has sanctioned £13,000 for a feasibility study by consultants Kingscote Enterprises, to find out if the idea is cost-effective.

It will also weigh-up the pros and cons of adding solar canopies to the top level of Bridgeway car park opposite, which is owned and managed by the council.

Dave Barber, programme director for climate change at Stratford and Warwick district councils said the study will start next month.

It will investigate the cost of buying and installing the equipment and balance that against potential benefits, such as carbon savings and lower electricity bills.

Mr Barber said: “All those sorts of questions will be looked at before any decisions are made and it will be for cabinet to decide whether they want to invest in whatever the costs are.”

The leisure centre, run under contract by Everyone Active, includes a swimming pool, wellness suite and gym with 3,000 members.

Many more residents take exercise classes and use the pool and gym on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Leisure centre manager Richard Bell said: “It would be brilliant, if it could go towards providing electricity for the centre. That would be massively beneficial on all levels.

“Utility bills are going up, so anything that bring that down a bit would be a massive help.”

The feasibility study is part of the council’s drive to slash carbon emissions from buildings and vehicles it owns.

The council, which declared a climate emergency in 2019, is aiming to cut total emissions in the district by more than half before 2030.

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