Leisure centre connects to Phoenix Gas network

Leisure centre connects to Phoenix Gas network

10 October 2018

THE new Down Leisure Centre has become the first commercial energy user in the district to connect to the Phoenix Natural Gas network.

The company is investing £60m bringing natural gas to East Down, with £6m being spent in Downpatrick alone to provide an estimated 5,000 properties with access to natural gas.

Due to open next month, the three-storey £16m leisure centre — based at Market Street in the town —  boasts a stunning range of facilities.

And in addition to being powered by natural gas, the building features a combined heat and power source, helping minimise its carbon footprint.

Mains gas was connected to the multi-million pound facility several weeks ago with council officials delighted the new leisure centre is the district’s first commercial energy user.

Council chief executive Liam Hannaway said that since approval was granted to extend the natural gas network to Downpatrick, the local authority had been very supportive of the project.

“We very much welcome natural gas now being available in the local area,” he continued. “When I first met with Phoenix to discuss gas availability in Downpatrick I was keen to ensure that the Down Leisure Centre, which was already under construction, could be connected as soon as possible and avail of a cleaner and more efficient fuel source.

“The new centre boasts a fitness suite, sports hall, multi-purpose activity rooms, squash courts and two swimming pools and a spa area, including a plunge pool, steam room and sauna. “

Mr Hannaway said that as a major energy user and a state-of-the-art centre “it was an obvious choice” for the local authority to install natural gas to meet the demands of the centre and he looks forward to its official opening within the next few weeks.

Council chairman Mark Murnin said he had been meeting regularly with Phoenix representatives to ensure a “smooth and efficient works programme in the town centre as the company works to make natural gas available to thousands of properties over the next few years.”

He continued: “Working closely with Phoenix, a construction programme was agreed that would enable the Down Leisure Centre to connect to the natural gas network ahead of its official opening.

“It’s fantastic to now see the positive outcomes of the recent town centre construction programme as the Down Leisure Centre becomes the first property to connect to the natural gas network.”

Cllr Murnin said the council was looking forward to availing of the many benefits of natural gas within the new leisure centre and that it was “great to see the historic town of Downpatrick benefit from an improved utility infrastructure and avail of a modern fuel choice.”

Phoenix’s industrial and commercial sales manager, Oliver Mars, said the company commenced its network build in Downpatrick last year.

“It’s great to now have our first commercial user fully up and running with gas and enjoying the efficiency benefits of a modern heating system,” he continued. “Not only that, but the local area will benefit from the environmental credentials of natural gas as it produces less carbon than other fossil fuels.”

Oliver added: “Whilst the connection of Down Leisure Centre to the natural gas network represents a flagship project for us, it’s great to have natural gas now available to all businesses in the Downpatrick area. I look forward to connecting even more commercial customers over the coming months.”