More than 400 Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have been installed on the roof of the fitness suite and sports hall

Winchester City Council’s new sport & leisure park at Bar End is set to become one of the greenest buildings in the south of England after reaching its latest major construction milestone. Construction partner Willmott Dixon has now completed installation of more than 400 Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof of the fitness suite and sports hall, which will generate enough renewable energy to power the lights in the main swimming pool hall for 21.5 hours a day.

In addition to the PV panels, the new centre boasts a specialist infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and improve water efficiency through the use of thermally-efficient solar control glazing, extensive rainwater drainage and biodiversity enhancements. Combined heat and power for heating the pools’ water and electrical generation will also contribute to the project achieving an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating, a key marker in certifying the building’s sustainability credentials.

The state-of-the-art facility will be equipped with the latest features including a 50m competition pool, a separate training pool (also with a movable floor), an eight-court sports hall, four squash courts 200 gym stations, two large studios and ‘Top Rock’ indoor fun climbing. A hydrotherapy suite, in partnership with The Pinder Trust, will also be available for patients with long term health conditions and for the public to receive physiotherapy, support with sports injuries and pain relief or for general relaxation.

Cllr Malcolm Prince, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Communities, said: “Having stood atop of the leisure centre recently to inspect the panels, I can proudly say the new Winchester Sport & Leisure Park will be one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly buildings across the south.

“Installation of the panels is just one way the council is continuing its commitment to reduce our impact on the environment. Climate change affects all of us, and now, just over a year since we declared a climate emergency, this building plays an important role in our ability to provide sufficient energy for the leisure facility and help reduce the district’s CO2 emissions.”

Richard Poulter, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon said, “We are proud to achieve this significant green milestone. Despite Covid-19 we have kept the site open by making substantial changes to how the project's workforce could continue safely.”