After more than three years of speculation, revisions and delays, plans to transform a six-acre site in Bentham into a £7 million climbing park with sports and adventure activities have been approved.
The project will see the redevelopment of Bentham Country Club, located between Cheltenham and Gloucester, into one of the best climbing facilities in the country. Work is due to begin by early Summer this year with the site due to open in 2022.
It will become a new attraction for the region and offer a facility for elite climbers as well as families, groups, clubs and educational establishments. The Directors of 270 Climbing Park say the climbing centre will include the most extensive range of indoor climbing walls in the country along with two large, dedicated bouldering areas (low-level climbing without ropes). It will also have Olympic-standard speed climbing and competition lead walls both inside and outside. The centre will cater for all ages and abilities from novice climbers to professional athletes, it will feature fun climbing walls and soft-play areas for children, an artificial caving system, plus also provide a gym for yoga and fitness classes, as well as therapy rooms and two separate café areas.
There will also be a number of outdoor activities, including an additional climbing wall, a bouldering area, a via ferrata (a vertical series of ropes, ladders and obstacles to climb), plus zip wires, a three-tier high ropes course and activity tower with free fall jumps and leaps-of-faith elements. The Park will see the site’s existing domes replaced with a brand-new sports dome which is more sympathetic to the local surroundings and will house multi-activity courts for a variety of sports and will also include an international-standard bouldering competition wall. The park will also incorporate glamping facilities with accommodation pods for visiting climbers, families and youth and schools’ groups offering the opportunity for short-term stays to make the most of the amenities.
Company Director, David Stevens, who sold his previous business, Cheltenham-baed Paragon Laundry in 2016 for £30 million, said: “It’s been a long time in coming, but we wanted to create something special. With six acres of things to do, the park can be your local café, your gym or fitness venue, your day out with the kids, the best birthday party or celebration, or your favourite climbing centre. The Park will offer everyone their own piece of adventure, recreation or relaxation”
Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Head of Development Services, Sandra Ford, said: “I’m delighted that planning permission for the redevelopment of the Bentham Country Park site has been granted, subject to a few conditions. This gives the green light to what will be an outstanding new climbing and activity centre, to be enjoyed by all, regardless of age or ability. 270 Climbing Park will be a wonderful addition to our existing leisure provision, not only benefiting the health and wellbeing of our residents, but also creating jobs, increasing tourism and bringing economic benefit to the borough.
Sandra added: “I am particularly pleased that the project, situated within the Cotswold’s area of outstanding natural beauty and involving the welcome redevelopment of a brownfield site, has been thoughtfully designed in sympathy with its surroundings, and the council looks forward to the centre’s prosperous future.”