Rowfant can have a climbing centre

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Plans to build a climbing centre in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council.

The application from WSX Climbing Ltd, for land west of Rowfant Business Centre, was given the nod by the planning committee against the recommendation of officers.

The site off Wallage Lane is undeveloped greenfield land in the countryside with ancient woodland to the west and east.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But it also sits between the business park, a sawmill and a civil engineering firm.

Plan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing LtdPlan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing Ltd
Plan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing Ltd

Officers had recommended the application be refused on the grounds of its size, the location – the majority of users would arrive by car with the nearest bus stop more than one mile away – and the absence of a S106 legal agreement.

The council received 12 letters of objection to the plans and 28 of support.

The committee was divided on the matter.

Eric Prescott (Con, Handcross & Pease Pottage), an experienced climber, said the building would sit ‘very comfortably’ and would be a ‘wonderful facility’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Plan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing LtdPlan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing Ltd
Plan to build a climbing wall in Rowfant have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council. Image: WSX Climbing Ltd

He added: “This is a national-grade facility and we should be welcoming with open arms the fact that we can [give] young athletes and mature athletes a facility and bring them to the area.”

Dick Sweatman (Con, East Grinstead Herontye) acknowledged the support from Sport England, which felt there was a need for such facilities.

But he added: “We have to look at our policies in our district plan.

“We’ve worked many years to get to this stage to where we are to protect the countryside.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This application constitutes a major development in the countryside and doesn’t adhere to the same class use as the Rowfant industrial estate.”

Mr Sweatman thought the climbing centre would be better served closer to a town centre, where it would be easier to reach.

In the end, the recommendation to refuse was rejected by three votes to four with three abstentions.

It was approved by four votes to three with three abstentions, subject to a S106 agreement being signed within three months.

The site will be accessed by the same road used to get to the business centre.

To view the application, log on to pa.midsussex.gov.uk and search for DM/24/0540.