LEEDS City Council is being challenged to make Otley Library energy efficient - or strike a deal with those who will.

The Nelson Street building closed last week and is expected to remain shut for at least a month to allow refurbishment work to take place.

The scheme will include installing new carpets, repairing the heating system and building a new toilet. Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), however, has criticised the city council for ‘missing an opportunity’ to also take steps to make the property more energy efficient.

Now Otley Town Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield) is repeating the call for solar panels to be fitted to the roof, a move he says could save the local authority nearly £1,500 a year in fuel bills.

Cllr Bradley believes there is potential to turn ‘one of the least energy efficient buildings in the town...into a model of sustainability’, and Otley Community Energy Group is keen to play a part.

He said: “If Leeds decides not to act upon this unique opportunity then the Otley Community Energy Group is ready to step into the breach and make it happen.

“The group is already in discussions with the city council and investment companies who are researching financial models that would raise the relatively small, up-front costs of the panels and installations - but this would require Leeds to lease the roof for a peppercorn rent.”

He added: “I have written to the council officer in charge of the library renovation to establish exactly what insulation or energy efficiency measures are being put in place to raise the building above its current, dismally low, EPC (energy efficiency) rating which is well below D.

“I hope for an early reply so progress could yet be made to modernise this landmark Otley public building in a sustainable way.

“I also hope that the initial decision not to place solar panels on the South-southeast facing roof is changed. If not, then I welcome the initiative from the Otley Community Energy Group to lease the roof space and do it themselves!

“The success of this project would be a great first step in making Otley a carbon neutral town by 2030.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “The council is happy to further explore the feasibility and economic viability of these proposals. As part of this process, councillors and officers are happy to meet with those who are putting them forward.”