More than half a million pounds will be invested in Darlington’s leisure centre to make it more energy efficient. 

A £526,000 funding boost from Sport England will pave the way for the next set of improvement works at the Dolphin Centre. 

A new combined heating power unit and solar panels will be installed to improve the carbon footprint of the building and reduce operational costs. New energy efficient lighting will also be installed throughout the centre.

The first floor Bistro will be temporarily closed for up to 11 weeks while new ventilation systems are installed. The works are due to start later this year and will be complete in 2026. 

The Northern Echo: The Dolphin Centre in DarlingtonThe Dolphin Centre in Darlington (Image: Stuart Boulton)

A council report added: “The much-needed investment will be used to replace essential elements of the mechanical plant, heating and ventilation services across the whole centre that are beyond their effective life, bringing significant improvements to the Bistro, Central Hall, Sports Hall and circulation areas in particular.

"This will ensure the centre can continue to provide comfortable environments across a range of services and also reduce operational running costs.”

The latest redevelopment announcement comes after the main pool reopened in January. The shower area and toddler pool are expected to be completed in spring. 

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Darlington Borough Council agreed to release the Sport England funding for the project at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. 

Cllr Matthew Roche, cabinet member for health and housing, said: “I am delighted that we have secured external funding for our well-loved Dolphin Centre. This is part of our plan to reduce our costs and help with the council's target to become Net Zero by 2040. Huge thanks to Sport England and the Council staff who successfully applied for this funding.” 

Green Party councillor Matthew Snedker welcomed the investment. He said: “This proves that we can improve the financial stability of the Dolphin Centre, a very much-loved facility. It costs a lot of money to run but at the end of this will cost less and cuts our environmental impact. Investment in energy saving can also bring benefits to the public.”