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Castle Mall could get climbing arena stretching three floors

PUBLISHED: 09:27 24 December 2018

Plans have been submitted for a new climbing arena in the Castle Mall Picture: Matthew Usher.

Plans have been submitted for a new climbing arena in the Castle Mall Picture: Matthew Usher.

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A climbing arena spanning three floors of one of the city’s shopping malls has been touted by the centre owners, with a national company lined up to run it.

InfraRed UK, which owns the Castle Mall in Norwich has applied to Norwich City Council for permission to convert part of the centre into a climbing area, reaching up three floors of the site.

The application seeks to base the climbing area on the mall’s first floor, which would stretch all the way up to the level three of the centre.

If approved, the project would be taken on by a national company called Rock-Up, which currently has six locations nationwide, including in Birmingham, Hull and Sheffield.

It would also be the company’s first centre in the entire of East Anglia, with its remaining three bases in Watford, Whiteley and Goodwick in Wales.

In supporting material submitted with the application, Kelly McCann, assistant planner for the scheme’s agent, said it was part of InfraRed’s strategy to mitigate for fading retail interest in the site.

She wrote: “If granted, Rock-Up would be the first climbing arena in the Norwich city centre and would undoubtedly result in a significant draw for visitors to both Castle Mall and the wider city centre.

“Indoor climbing is increasingly popular as a leisure activity and offers the opportunity for individuals and families to improve fitness, strength, co-ordination and general well-being, in an attractive and safe space.

“On the basis of lack of retailer interest in these unites, Infrared has reviewed its strategy for future letting of this part of the shopping centre and has concluded that this space can be revitalised by introducing further leisure uses for which there is demand.”

The proposals would also include a disused retail unit, once occupied by lingerie shop La Senza, used as a base for the climbing arena.

It is the latest development in something of a regeneration of the Castle Mall’s offering, which has seen a range of new restaurants opening on its fourth floor, now known as the Timberhill Terrace.

The application will be decided by Norwich City Council in due course.

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