Underground heat network plan for first buildings in Solihull

Underground heat network plan for first buildings in Solihull

Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Solihull Council House and secondary schools near the town centre could be among the first buildings linked up to an underground heat network.

It was recently revealed that the borough council was looking at the possibility of drawing on the heat generated by a water source beneath Tudor Grange Park .

An initial study was completed in December last year and yesterday (Thursday), the cabinet agreed that a detailed business case should be prepared.

To confirm that the project is viable, a trial borehole will need to be drilled beneath the park and there are also plans for radar scans to provide a better idea of the space available for hot water pipes.



Map showing “phase 1” of the proposed network.

Solihull Council has said that the network could play a key role in cutting carbon emissions in the borough and attracting investment to the town centre.

Anne Brereton, the director of managed growth and communities, said: “There is quite a long way to go with this project, but we do think the early indications are that there is something that is viable and attractive here.”

The council was previously awarded around £254,000 from the Government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit and is looking to secure further investment via the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Cllr Tony Dicicco, cabinet member for the environment and housing, said he was “a big fan” of this type of network.

“We have got a target as a nation of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050, so this would help us as a borough to achieve some of those objectives.”



Tudor Grange Park close to Solihull town centre.

Cabinet heard that the proposed network was intended to be delivered in three phases.

The first would focus on public sector buildings and key businesses on Homer Road. The map presented at the meeting suggests that this route would stretch as far as Tudor Grange Academy in a south-westerly direction and up to Solihull Hospital in the north east.

The second phase would roll it out to more private sector companies and the final part of the plan would aim to connect up new developments.

Cllr Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull Council, said that the project could prove the value of new technologies in delivering wide-reaching benefits.

“I think the public sector has to be in the driving seat in these things, other people would link in [afterwards].”

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