REDDITCH Council has come under fire for plans to heat a leisure centre using waste energy from the town’s crematorium.

Town hall chiefs want to use the heat generated by Redditch Crematorium, which is currently pumped into the atmosphere, to heat the Abbey Stadium and its facilities which includes a swimming pool.

If the plans are approved the council will be the first in the country to use a crematorium to heat a leisure centre in that way.

However, the proposal has proved controversial with some.

Simon Thomas, of Thomas Brothers Funeral Directors, called the plans "strange" and "eerie".

"I'm not comfortable with it at all and I think trying to save money due to the death of someone's family member or friend is a bit sick,” he said.

"I think it will cause uproar and may even put people off using the facilities which would lose the council money.”

Council chiefs say the move would reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and be an efficient and environmentally friendly way of using the heat.

It would also mean offsetting the demand for mains natural gas for the new leisure centre by 42 per cent over the course of a year, which would give a financial saving of £14,560 per year.

Defending the plans, council leader Carole Gandy said: “I think a lot of the concern is people not fully understanding what we are trying to do.

“If we are going to build a new leisure centre and heat it then we want to look at all the options available to us.

“And one of the options is this. Instead of the waste heat going out the chimney it will be diverted down a pipe to part heat the stadium.

“Nothing more than using left over heat - that is it.”

Coun Gandy added: “I do realise however that some people may find the plans hard to accept and I’m sorry about that.

“We want to allay people’s fears and that is hopefully where a public briefing comes in.”

A meeting to discuss the plans will be held on Thursday, January 27 from 12.30 -1.30pm at the town hall before it is discussed at the council's executive committee on February 1.