A scheme to dig boreholes underneath Cambridge’s market square is being considered, with the aim of creating a new green heating system that would free the city centre from relying on gas.
Cambridge City Council has come up with the proposal to dig deep shafts in the square when it takes up the cobbles in the market to have them reset.
The University of Cambridge, which has experience of district heating at its Eddington development, is partnering with the council to explore the idea.
The Guildhall and Corn Exchange, which are both council-owned, as well as surrounding buildings could use the new district heating network in a bid to protect them from rising fuel prices and reduce carbon emissions. Holes could also be dug in green spaces around Cambridge – such as Parker’s Piece – as part of further ground source heat pump plans, which could supply heat to Parkside Pool.
Concerns have been raised by the Cambridge Market Traders’ Association that the project could leave them displaced from the market for long stretches of time and that people could lose their businesses.