Changes are coming to a well-used car park, community centres, libraries and offices in Bracknell to make them more efficient.

These changes are centred around replacing lights, windows and insulation in an effort to drive down running costs.

The upgrades will be conducted on Great Hollands community centre, an office Bracknell Forest Council uses in Waterside Park and a multi-storey car park in the town centre.

Details of these improvement projects were revealed by Alex Bennett, the council’s head of strategic asset management, at a meeting of the council’s climate change advisory panel.

During the meeting, Mr Bennett held a presentation on the council’s ‘Greening our Building Projects’ programme.

One of the buildings included in the programme is Great Hollands Library, Community Centre and Childrens Centre.

Improvements to the centre involves installing new cavity wall insulation, which is 77 per cent more efficient, installing double glazed windows which are 80 per cent more efficient, LED lights which use 75 per cent less energy and heating system improvements.

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Elsewhere, the council has invested in replacing the roof at Mallard House in Waterside Park to improve efficiency.

As the roof is flat, it is ideal for having solar panels installed on it.

Mallard House is currently occupied by the council’s Emergency Duty Services (EDS), which deals with social service emergencies, and Forestcare, which is a helpline for a variety of the services the council provides.

Other projects in the programme include upgrading lights and adding solar panels to Ascot Heath Library,  Birch Hill Library, Easthampstead and Wildridings Community Centre, the Larchwood Short Break Unit in Portman Close and Bracknell Open Learning Centre in Rectory Lane.

The projects within the ‘Greening our Building Projects’ programme will be funded by £785,000 in ‘Invest to Save’ funding aimed at reducing running costs.

Perhaps the most visited building that isn’t part of the programme but is due for an upgrade is The Avenue Car Park, which has 1,194 parking spaces, including 68 spaces for disabled blue badge holders, four electric vehicle charging spaces and 14 motorbike spaces.

Bracknell News: The Avenue Car Park in Millennium Way Bracknell. Credit: Google MapsThe Avenue Car Park in Millennium Way Bracknell. Credit: Google Maps

The council is set to invest £600,000 from its capital budget to replace the lighting on five floors and ramps with LED lights and installing passive infrared (PIR) sensors which are motion triggered to save on lighting costs.

That’s in an effort to save the £26,000 a month Bracknell Forest Council pays on electricity costs for the car park.

Councillor Tony Virgo (Conservative, Winkfield & Cranbourne) the head of the panel, was left shocked at the scale of the electricity costs.

Cllr Virgo said: “It seems, excuse my vernacular, a hell of a lot of money to pay somebody, I don’t know what to say.”

Damian James, the assistant director of contract services at Bracknell Forest Council replied that the council has no control over the electricity provider as it leases the car park.

However, he did point out that electricity costs were previously around £10-12,000 a month.

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Earlier, Mr Bennett said the council is five years into a 40 year lease of the car park.

The upgrade project for the car park is due to completed by March 2024.

The climate change advisory panel meeting was held on Thursday, March 9, with other projects being designed and scheduled for completion this October.