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Chippenham Climbing Centre


Project Details

£3m to £4.99M



5 Union Road , Chippenham , Wiltshire , SN15 1HW , United Kingdom

As one of the UK’s first purpose-built climbing centres, the scheme has been 7 years in the making. The brief was to improve an area of disused sports fields which were prone to flooding. The client was a local charity with a desire to bring significant benefit to the local town which had long missed out on investment. The brief was built by the local population through a series of community engagement meetings each seeking out key stake holders and offering up alternative visions for the area of land. Sitting on a flood plain we needed to not only ensure the building and its users were safe in the case of highwater levels but also to ensure that the site could hold more water after we undertook the work to protect properties downstream. The building itself is lifted 1.5m into the air on stilts and large compensatory volumes were excavated. As one of the first purpose built climbing centres in the UK it was funded by a local charity with support from Sports England and Wiltshire Council. The site constraints including conservation view corridors, proximity to residential and retirement properties and flooding combined with a genuine desire for the brief to be led by the people of Chippenham ensured that the building had to balance a need for size against regulations, and high levels of design against cost effectiveness to ensure a viable business case going forwards. What building methods were used A steel portal frame was raised on a concrete plinth to reduce conflict between the steel and the damp nature of the site. Polycarbonate portions allow a controlled level of light into and out of the building reducing the need for artificial light. Sustainability features: The building is highly insulated and uses local materials to minimise embodied energy; MVHR and Photovoltaics ensure minimal energy demand; Low water taps, wc’s and showers etc we specified to reduce potable water usage; Local timber used for majority of cladding and enclosure; Biodiversity improvements including elements of re-wilding and wildflower meadows, flowering and fruiting trees, bee posts, circa 20 bird and bat boxes, the retention of existing trees and the planting of hundreds more. Limited parking and improved cycle/footpath access to minimise car usage; Recycling areas; EV and EB charge points; Low energy lighting and ASHP, MVHR. The project includes: A full-height roped area; both internal and external ranging from 10-15m in height; A bouldering area; ranging from 4m to 8m in height spread between both buildings over two floors; A community café designed as part of the climbing centre and the wider recreation ground; A raised and fenced terrace area designed as a safe play space for younger children and external seating for the café; A skatepark; An activity playpark; A teaching space/classroom.