East Wittering Community School pupils set to swim in water heated by sun

The British summer weather may not be giving swimmers the ideal chance to go outside for a dip, but pupils at East Wittering Community School could soon be using their own outdoor heated pool.

Solar thermal panels have already been installed at the primary school, to beat a government grant funding deadline, but it is hoped retrospective planning permission for the project will soon be rubber-stamped by the county council.

The panels lie on the school’s roof next to the pool, and collect energy for the swimming pool heater.

The school said the panels would reduce its energy bill for heating by around two thirds.

School bursar Steve Beer said: “We are trying to do our bit to lower our carbon footprint and we will save a fairly substantial amount of energy.

“The children have not used the pool yet, but we are hoping they can at the start of next term.

“The panels are still well below other points on the building, and we are hoping they are not viewed negatively by our neighbours.”

The school had received money from the Woodger Trust to have the solar panels installed, providing it applied for the lower carbon buildings programme by 2012.

However the deadline to apply for the grant was put forward, so the school at Stocks Lane had to act quickly and install the panels.

Retrospective plans were submitted to the county council, and the school is now waiting for a thumbs-up from planning officers.

It is hoped a decision on the plans will be reached by July 12.