The new energy centre that will provide green energy for Bradford city centre could be built on an area of land that has been earmarked for flats and a petrol station.
1Energy, the company behind the £40m Bradford Energy Network, has submitted a new planning application for the Bradford Energy Network’s Energy Centre.
The centre will use air source heat pumps and an underground network of pipes to provide low carbon heating to buildings such as Bradford City Hall and the Alhambra Theatre.
Originally the centre was due to be built on the derelict Beehive Mills site near the University of Bradford campus.
But now the organisation behind the plan has submitted new plans – to build the centre on the Southern section of a vacant area of land at the junction of Thornton Road and Listerhills Road.
The same site was recently the subject of a major planning application by Mi7 Developments, which would see over 300 flats, a drive thru café and a petrol filling station on the site.
That application was approved by Bradford Council last month.
The Energy Centre will be the hub of the network, using Air Source Heat Pumps to provide a low carbon heating source to connected buildings across Bradford city centre.
The Bradford Energy Network will deliver an 80 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a 90 per cent reduction in nitrous oxide (NOX) emissions from city centre buildings, helping to tackle climate change and improve air quality.
The new planning application from 1Energy replaces the previous one for Beehive Mills which was withdrawn in February after the owner, the University of Bradford, indicated it wished to retain the site for its own use.
The heat network pipes for the Bradford Energy Network have already received planning permission from the Council in October. The network is being built in the city centre at the same time as a series of Bradford Council highway and public realm improvements.
The company says the centre will be a “statement building,” designed to reflect the industrial heritage of the area. The majority of the building will be clad in a timber-effect material, with composite metal-profiled cladding wraps around the lower part of the building.
Included in the planning application are plans for landscaping around the Energy Centre and along a planned access road to serve the development site, potentially unlocking other underused development sites in the Thornton Road area.
Commenting on the application, Jeremy Bungey, Co-Founder and Director of 1Energy, said: “This application means we are now well on the way to delivering the Bradford Energy Network across the city, which will form the backbone of the city’s decarbonisation plans. The network is the most cost-effective way for businesses and organisations to decarbonise their heating and hot water supply and we are confident it will deliver major benefits for customers.
“It’s so exciting to be delivering this project at the same time as all the preparations are ramping up for the Bradford City of Culture. A modern city of culture deserves a modern energy system. Given the important role Bradford played in the Industrial Revolution, it feels very fitting that the city will now be at the forefront of the Energy Revolution, confirming the city’s ambition to be the UK’s leading clean growth district.”
If the planning application is approved, construction of the Energy Centre is expected to begin in the autumn and be complete and ready to operate by early 2025, while works to the pipe network will be completed by late 2024.
The operation of the Energy Centre and the process of connecting customers to the network is expected to create five full time and five part time jobs.
When asked about the fact that the residential plans for the site had only recently been approved, a 1Energy spokesman said: “The new planning application will see the Energy Centre built on the southern section of the site which currently has an outline planning permission for apartments, a petrol filling station, drive-thru restaurant and three retail units.
“1Energy has secured a Heads of Terms agreement to acquire the relevant southern section of the site, to be confirmed subject to Planning Permission being granted for the new Energy Centre by the Council.
“Should the Energy Centre planning application be approved, under the agreed Heads of Terms this southern section of the site would be secured for the Energy Centre, while the remaining area of the site would remain available for the existing owner to bring forward for development.”