Construction group begins work on futuristic climbing facility

Plans for Summit Up

Conlon Construction has been appointed as the contractor on the development of a locally-inspired indoor climbing centre in Oldham.

‘Summit Up’ will cover more than 1,800 sqm in the town’s centre, offering multiple climbing and retail facilities, and is expected to create 40 jobs.

Preston-based Conlon has now begun work on the development which is due to open in Summer 2021.

Once complete, Summit Up will become one of the largest climbing centres in the UK and will feature Clip n Climb and the three disciplines of speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering – elements of the sport that were set to join the Olympic schedule for the first time in 2020, before COVID-19 delayed the competition.

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee approved plans for the building in December 2019, after proposals by AEW Architects were put forward for 20,000 sq ft of split-level space consisting of an upper ground, mezzanine and lower ground, to complement the steep gradient of the site on Egerton Street. The project will be overseen by Dooley Associates.

The external design of the futuristic building is inspired by the Peak District and local stone ‘gritstone’ in particular.

Meanwhile, the internal fit-out – offering Clip n Climb, climbing and retail facilities, soft play, Valo Climb interactive climbing walls, a cafe and viewing areas, toilets, changing rooms, and staff amenities – will be delivered by Entre-Prises, pioneers of ‘Clip ‘n Climb’.

Darren Lee, commercial director for Conlon Construction, said: “This is a landmark project in Oldham – from the unique design features through to the fact Summit Up will be run entirely for the benefit of local causes – and we are proud to be playing a part in it.

“It also marks our continued growing footprint across Greater Manchester, having truly established our network in the county over recent years.

“We have our sights set on numerous projects that would benefit from Conlon’s approach to modern developments and true social value and will be using our time in Oldham to prove our capabilities in the leisure sector.”

He added: “We look forward to working together with the wider project team and the local community to bring this stunning design to life.”

Summit Up is a trading subsidiary of The Stoller Charitable Trust, whose purpose is to provide opportunities that raise aspirations and support young people in Oldham by offering a helping hand when it is needed most.

All profits made by the centre are set to be reinvested back into the charity to leave a legacy for the local community.

Stephen Lowe, chairman of SCT Climbing, said: “Since the very first discussions were had about the Summit Up project, we have wanted to develop a supply chain of contractors who can mirror our social value mission.

“As well as Conlon Construction’s extensive experience as the main contractor on a series of flagship developments across the North, its comprehensive CSR agenda made them our contractor of choice.

“They, like the other project team members, are likeminded partners with the same ambitions as us – to deliver facilities that offer new opportunities for local communities.

“We are confident in Conlon’s ability to bring something truly exciting to the town of Oldham, which will not only set new standards in the design of leisure facilities, but will also serve to increase visitors to the area and improve the local economy.”

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