Plans revealed for new indoor climbing centre in Exeter

Plans for a new indoor climbing centre on the Sowton Industrial Estate in Exeter have been unveiled.

Grip UK Ltd is seeking permission to convert a vacant building in Mallard Road.

It would be operated by The Climbing Hangar, which already runs sites in Plymouth, Liverpool, London and Swansea.

The centre would create 20 new jobs and would be open from 6.30am to 10pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 9am to 8pm on weekends.

Grip UK’s application outlines there would be ‘sequentially preferable properties’ available within Exeter city centre – both at Broadwalk House and The Depot student flats – but their floor to ceiling heights would not be suitable.

It also rules out the new St Sidwell’s Point leisure centre and the Moor Exchange development in Honiton Road.

The plans state: “The operator’s core audience generally consists of 16 to 45-year olds, ranging from young professionals to families, however, the operation is such that it also caters for and accommodates young children as it provides a safe and accessible form of climbing.

“The Climbing Hangar has various activities on offer, and the space will comprise of a main climbing/bouldering wall which will be the main focal point and will offer a range of climbing activities, primarily consisting of independent climbers, as well as classes for local schools, scout/cadet groups and charities in non-peak hours.

“It is considered that the proposed leisure use would complement the existing employment uses within the wider estate, providing those employed within the area with a leisure use to utilise during break times, before and after work.

“The use will assist in attracting businesses to the area, as providing an accessible health and fitness activity and café that is readily accessible on foot before and after work, or during lunchtimes, as well as assisting to attract new employees to existing businesses through the provision of a complementary facility of this nature.

“The proposal will therefore result in economic benefits to the area, bring a long-term vacant building back into active use, generating new and a greater diversity of employment opportunities and supporting and serving the existing businesses and their employees in this location.

“The Climbing Hangar will also offer a wide range of youth development classes that can take young people from their first vertical steps to internal competitions.

“The Climbing Hangar works with local groups, such as scout/cadet organisations, schools and charities such as The Princes Trust, providing a beneficial facility within the local community.

“It is considered that the proposals will have a positive impact on the wider area, and provide a clean, safe and accessible facility which fits within the nature of this location and will support the current business uses.”

Exeter City Council will decide the fate of the plans.

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