Christmas has come early for us here at the Castle, with the gift of Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for a brand-new building!
After two whole years of negotiations with Historic England and Hackney’s Conservation team, we are absolutely delighted to announce we’ve had formal planning permission to extend the climbing centre.
This is hugely exciting news, and we can’t wait to open up a whole new area packed with the best possible climbing we can create for you to enjoy. Current plans suggest we’ll be able to design a space that will give us 25% more roped climbing.
To do this, we’ve bought a whole new building right next to the Castle. We’ve got all the approvals, and although there’s a long way to go, we’re rolling up our sleeves for a fantastic new project in 2020.
The latest designs, though still subject to change, will include 40 new rope lines up to 10m high. To make this possible, we’ll be gutting the inside of the existing building, digging down to increase the space and literally raising the roof to create the extra space we need.
Our aim is to ensure that this new building be sustainable from the outset. The extra height and roof will be built almost entirely from timber and will be cleverly insulated to reduce energy usage. Because we’ll be designing the perfect building from the very beginning, we won’t have to reverse engineer the sustainable elements (like we have to do for the main Castle building, a Grade II listed building with strict regulations on how and what we can change). We’ll be installing a version of our award-winning Natural Ventilation System, which uses a careful monitoring system to ensure the ambient temperature stays at a comfortable level regardless of the outside temperature. By opening and closing dampers, we’ll manage the airflow, temperature and CO2 levels using natural airflow rather than artificial air conditioning units for up to 70% of the year – ideal climbing conditions, but better for the planet. It’ll also enable us to filter chalk out of the air too, making it a cleaner environment. We’ll also have solar panels on the roof to provide renewable energy.
Building works will start early next year. We’ll keep disruption to the centre to an absolute minimum – in fact, it should hardly impact on your climb at the centre at all. We hope to be able to open the new building at some point towards the end of next year.
We’ve got big plans for the main centre as well, including enlarging the changing rooms, improving the warm up and stretching area, and adding more lockers. This probably will have some impact on the centre, but we think it will be worth it to make these changes, especially as most of it is in response to feedback we’ve received from you on what you want from the Castle.
Honestly, it’s like Christmas has come early for everyone here. Finally, all that planning and hard work and back and forth has totally paid off. Now the graft begins on building it and making it a sustainable climbing space for years to come.
We will be sharing more news whenever we can throughout 2020 - keep your eyes peeled for more updates!
If you have any thoughts or questions, you can get in touch with us at email@example.com - we'll be off for Christmas, but we'll respond in the new year.