‘Olympic’ climbing centre hopes to hit the heights
AN ‘Olympic’ indoor rock climbing centre is set to attract ‘up to 90,000’ people.
The centre in the heart of Oldham is to be built on land formerly occupied by the All Nations Church on Egerton Street, which has now been demolished.
Councillors unanimously approved it at a meeting of the borough’s planning committee, welcoming the facility as ‘fantastic.’
It is being built by the Stoller Charitable Trust, which says that the centre is expected to create 40 jobs and all the profits made by the centre will be reinvested back into the charity.
Businessman Sir Norman Stoller created the trust in the 1980s, and it has since given millions to good causes. He ran Oldham firm Seton Healthcare, which was founded by his father Ivor, inventor of the tubular bandage.
Steve Lowe, from the trust, told the meeting they are developing the climbing facility through a notfor-profit subsidiary.
He said: “This will be one of the largest climbing centres in Greater Manchester, combining clip-andclimb, bouldering, lead climbing, soft play and a cafe area. Climbing is the fastest-growing healthy activity in the UK with both lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering becoming an Olympic sport in 2020. We will have the equivalent of these Olympic walls in Oldham.
“It will be providing a family leisure opportunity for all ages from two to 92.”
He added that it would support the council with their plans to regenerate the town centre, including projects at Prince’s Gate and the heritage centre.
He said: “Our forecasts indicate potentially between 80-90,000 visitors each year, which will visit not only the climbing centre but the town centre and will create up to 40 jobs many of which will be for youngsters.
“With no parking on the site we are encouraging visitors to use public transport or the town centre car parks. Most importantly all the profits generated will be made available to the charitable trust to continue to support local community groups and in particular improving the lives of young people in the town and make Oldham a place people will enjoy visiting and retain Sir Norman’s vision that Oldham remains the centre of the universe.”
The building would cover more than 1,800 sq m next to the Mahdlo Youth Zone and near Oldham Coliseum theatre.