News drifts in about what’s in store for the former city council parks depot on Castle Park. At a cabinet meeting over the summer it was announced that the site would be used for … Wait for it … A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT! Basically luxury flats and a mid-market chain restaurant, then. However, the Reverend’s Cabinet have also agreed to use the site as a ‘PERMANENT ENERGY CENTRE’. With the PR claiming that a Water Source Heat Pump “which draws waste heat from the floating harbour along with gas peak and reserve boilers” will be located there.
The reason for the sudden need for an energy centre on the site is that in December 2018 the council’s first COMMERCIAL HEAT NETWORK AGREEMENT was finalised with Castle Park View, the 26-storey residential block being built on the site of the old ambulance station at the edge of the park. On paper, a Water Source Heat Pump is a good thing, providing low cost, low carbon energy from the docks. However, The BRISTOLIAN learns, this ‘low cost’, ‘low carbon’ energy solution will not be ready in time.
Instead, “while the Permanent Energy Centre is being designed and built, heat will be provided by ‘INTERIM GAS BOILERS’, one at Castle Park Depot and the other at Gardiner Haskins car park” just a few metres from HANNAH MORE PRIMARY SCHOOL. Yes, Bristol City Council is installing highly polluting gas power plants in Castle Park and by a Primary School to provide CHEAP HEAT to a commercial development.
The council acknowledge, “this is not a low carbon solution and therefore increases the need for the Water Source Heat Pump which will ultimately replace the use of the gas boilers at Gardner Hoskins which will then be removed with gas boilers at Castle Park Depot retained as peak and reserve boilers only”.
So the long term plan is for a permanent gas boiler on Castle Park to supply cheap heat to luxury flats. Who’s up for that then?