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Proposed Ledge Climbing Gym in Highland capital back on the table at a new site

By Val Sweeney

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Duncan McCallum is behind The Ledge climbing centre project.
Duncan McCallum is behind The Ledge climbing centre project.

Backers of plans to create a world-class climbing gym in the Highland capital have found new premises for the venture.

The long-running saga to create the Ledge Climbing Gym looked to have hit a wall in the summer after a bid to site it in a converted warehouse in Lotland Street – next to a fuel storage and distribution site – was deemed to pose too high a risk.

Backers said the £3 million centre would create 46 jobs, with the provision of a gym, fitness studio, retail outlet and café as well as climbing facilities generating £1 million a year for the local economy.

While developers detailed plans to create a military standard “blast wall” around the facility, councillors turned down their application on the basis of advice from the Health and Safety Executive.

They said that while the risk of a blast occurring was small, the impact if it did happen could be devastating.

The Ledge chief executive Duncan McCallum insisted at the time that the rejection was not the end of the road, with two other sites identified as alternatives, adding that “there is not a lack of will and there is not a lack of support” for the vision.

And this week the plans appeared to be back on track as the team revealed they have secured a new location, at the city’s Telford Retail Park.

In a post on its Facebook site a spokesperson for the project said: “Some good Christmas news!

“After lots of hunting, we have finally found a great building!

“For the last three months we have been working with the owners of the Telford Retail Park to secure unit 2 in the park (next to Currys) for the Ledge Climbing Gym.”

They added: “We agreed heads of terms six weeks ago and, following detailed negotiations, our architect Reynolds Architecture applied for change of use planning permission on November 16.

“This ‘change of use’ application is now in the public domain, which means we can now officially tell everyone this fantastic news.

“The building is on one of the best sites in the city and will give us 1393m 2sq of floor space – enough to accommodate over 900m 2sq of bouldering and lead, a large strength and conditioning space, a Café Kraft- style training space, a yoga studio (or event space), good café, and supporting retail.

“If planning and the design stages go to schedule, we are looking to open late autumn 2022.”

While still firming up plans including timetabling and funding, they added that it will hopefully be “third time lucky” for the long-planned project.

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