SOLAR panels and automatic doors could be installed at the Guildhall in Chard as part of a £50,000 long-term project to save money on heating bills – and the public pocket is not expected to be hit.

Councillors decided to raid Chard Town Council’s coffers with the hope of getting the money back over the next few years through a Government buy-back scheme and reduced utility costs.

Under the plans, about 25 solar panels could be placed on the roof above the auditorium at the back of the building, not visible from Fore Street.

An automatic or air-lock door could replace the glass doors which currently front the Grade II listed building, making it more disabled-friendly.

Guildhall manager Terry Powell said it was a complex project but added: “The ultimate aim is to promote the use of the Guildhall with the people of Chard.”

The building had a £2.3m revamp around a decade ago, paid for by grants of £1.7million, with the town council paying the rest. Mayor Jenny Kenton backed the idea and said: “We do not want the Guildhall to be cold and solar panels will always be a good investment.”

On Facebook, some residents thought the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Jamie Shaw posted: “That money would be well spent on an investment in businesses and investing in the roads to and from Chard."