Plan for climbing centre in former quarry rejected

Climbing quarry plans in Clevedon

The plans, for a quarry site in Clevedon, were turned down - Credit: LDRS

Plans to create a climbing centre with 60-metre-high towers in a “man-made scar” in Clevedon have fallen flat. 

Applicant Christopher Lane said Conygar Quarry, in Nortons Wood Lane, has been a dangerous hole in the ground for 20 years.  

He was denied planning permission by North Somerset Council due to concerns about access and the impact on the green belt after more than 500 residents had their say. 

Mr Lane said in his application: “The site is undeniably a man-made scar on Clevedon, and within a green belt it is unacceptable. 

“Building a climbing centre within a quarry not only makes use of it, but also provides the community with a much-needed outdoor and all-season climbing centre.

“The former quarry has lots to offer – clean air, fantastic views and a deeply cut basin with 20-metre cliffs surrounding the hard standing areas.”

He said there are natural rock climbing cliffs and a high-tree line that would have concealed 60-metre purpose-built climbing structures and trapped noise, plus space for 100 cars. 

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The application said the centre would open around the clock from Monday to Saturday and from 7am to 9pm on Sundays. 

A cafe was planned to offer food and drink to visitors and staff, with a large picnic area to relax and socialise, extending visitor stays in the summer months. 

The proposals split public opinion, with 281 writing in support and 226 objecting. 

Backers said similar facilities nearby are at capacity and the climbing centre would complement Clevedon’s active spirit, as shown by the Marine Lake, while boosting the economy and putting the quarry to good use. 

Opponents said Nortons Wood Lane is popular with walkers, horse riders, cyclists and farm vehicles and argued the single-track road could not cope with extra traffic.

Along with fears for an important local population of toads, others were concerned about light pollution from the 60-metre towers and said the 24-hour use of the site would be a nuisance. 

Refusing permission, North Somerset Council planning officers said the climbing towers were too large in the green belt and there was little information on how the quarry walls would be used for climbing. 

They said the proposal also failed to demonstrate that a safe means of access could be provided.