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Durham County Council to install solar panels to leisure centre

AS part of measure to reduce its carbon footprint and impact on the environment, Durham County Council has plans to install solar panels on one of its leisure centres.

The council proposes to undertake the installation of a Solar PV array at Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre, Durham.

Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre is not a historic building and is of a modernist style comprising three connected architectural forms.

A design and impact statement from the council says: “Solar panels are proposed to sit on the highest of these three elements on the flat roof which is bounded by an approximately 1.8m high parapet wall.

“The panels will sit between existing rooflights and be lower than their height. As such all external elevations to the property remain the same.

“Solar panels are also proposed to be affixed to the lowest of the three elements on the roof immediately above the swimming pool. These will be fitted between the barrel vaulted rooflights and the top edges of the panels will still sit below the highest point of the property’s roof.

“The system will be mounted solely on rubber tiles with steel load carriers and ballasted so as to protect the roof covering against any sharp or point loads and to spread the load as evenly as possible across the roof

“End panels are fitted to help prevent excessive wind from getting under the panels.

The proposed solar panel installation is being undertaken as discretely as possible.

“For the avoidance of doubt, from ground level the high level panels will not be visible at all. Furthermore it will only be possible for the very edges of the panels over the swimming pool to be visible from ground level and then only in the immediate vicinity of the building.

“The building itself whilst sited in the Conservation Area is a modernist building and therefore solar panels would not have a detrimental affect on the appearance of the building.

The entire building is surrounded by other taller modernist buildings and not be visible from the World Heritage Site, and the building is not in the line of sight to any listed buildings.

The panels are of a temporary nature and will be short lived: for a period of up to 25 years, less than 10 per cent of the anticipated life of the building.

“It will be a fantastic opportunity for the council to show leadership to the community in how important it is to reduce our carbon emissions.”

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