Posted: Tue 5th Mar 2024

Ty Pawb’s £144k energy bill pressures – but ‘doors being left open’ as council run centre too hot for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

The loss of heat from a market and arts centre in Wrexham is adding to its significant financial woes, a report has revealed.

In February, concerns were raised over the financial sustainability of Ty Pawb as it faces a predicted budget pressure of £298,000.

Wrexham Council said increased energy costs of £144,000 were one of the main reasons for the anticipated shortfall.

It led to a warning from a senior councillor that the centre would need to become financially sustainable or face having its future placed under review.

A report has now been published showing how heat loss is adding to the bill for the facility as the roof of the former People’s Market building has been described as “not fit for purpose”.

The facility’s automatic doors have also been highlighted as “significant sources” of heat loss following an audit carried out by consultants Green Edge Sustainability.

The report states: “Ty Pawb opened in 2018 and is housed in a refurbished market hall.

“The building itself was originally constructed in 1992 as the ‘Peoples Market’.

“Building regulations at the time of construction suggest all roofs, ceilings, walls and floors are assumed to be uninsulated.

“The primary focus when considering energy efficiency is the building fabrics, particularly the walls, roofs, and floors.

“By prioritising improvements to these areas, a building can better retain heat, which in turn reduces demand and associated costs and carbon emissions.

“There was no evidence to suggest the cavity wall was filled with insulation and it is unlikely to be given the date of construction of the building unless installed during refurbishment.”

The report adds: “The entrances to the buildings consist of automatic doors which are considered significant sources of heat loss as it is typical for customers to be walking in and out of the building, frequently leading to these doors being open throughout the day.

“The original atrium features in the roof have been maintained. This is believed to be a significant area of heat loss, as this is a large area of single-glazed glass which is not optimal for heat retention.”

Although not detailed within the report, it’s understood separate concerns have been raised with the council in recent months over issues with the centre’s thermostat.

The problem is said to have led to the building becoming too hot, leading to its automatic doors being left open to try and reduce the inside temperature. asked the question on the locally rumoured door opening to cool the centre, and was told by the Leader of the Council Mark Pritchard he was ‘made aware of it by members of the public and referred it immediately to the chief officer who has responsibility for it. It is an operational issue. I didn’t know until I was told of it, and I reported it”

The Council Leader added, “I would be very disappointed if that central heating system wasn’t functioning properly, and what is being said is correct that they had to open windows and doors. I would be shocked with that”.

The authority’s chief executive Ian Bancroft told the media briefing held last month that the issue was being looked into. was assured an update, however despite re-asking, no further information has been forthcoming.

The consultant’s report shows the building’s art gallery is the biggest energy consumer due to having an air handling unit and humidifier in operation 24 hours a day.

Recommendations to improve the facility’s energy efficiency include installing insulation, upgrades to the heating system and creating “draught lobbies” at the entrances to reduce heat loss.

Responding to the issues raised, Cllr Hugh Jones, portfolio holder for Ty Pawb, said in a report: “This research has provided the carbon reduction working group with direction to meet our net zero targets, which in turn may assist in reducing our energy related costs.

“The operational building management system is being transferred to facilities management within WCBC to ensure maintenance is coordinated within the council programme.

“Options and grant opportunities are being explored to secure an alternative atmospheric control system for the Gallery.

“The rooftop garden space continues to be developed as a community resource enhancing bio-diversity and substantial planting, offsetting the carbon footprint of the building.”

A review of the building’s thermostat controls is also being carried out following the findings being published.

The report will be discussed by members of Wrexham’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee when they meet today (March, 5 February).

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter /

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