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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Adventure centre plan for Carlisle's Bitts Park

A popular park is set for a major transformation after a Cumbrian pair’s plans for a new £250,000 adventure centre were unveiled.

Bitts Park scheme graphic
An artist’s impression of the scheme

The proposals include a high ropes course, a zip wire, a semi-circular climbing wall, and various other activities at Bitts Park in Carlisle.

It is the idea of Workington Comets owner Laura Morgan, who was left disabled after a serious accident in Denmark a few years ago, and her brother Steve Whitehead.

Mrs Morgan, of Crosby, near Maryport, bought the speedway team following her compensation payout for the accident two years ago and now plans to invest in the Bitts Park project.

She said: “I am really excited to be getting involved in a project like this.

“After throwing myself into the speedway venture, this will give me something else to focus on while providing something that everyone can enjoy.”

The plans would see the adventure centre built on land – already earmarked for leisure activities – on the crazy golf course site which is managed by Carlisle Leisure on behalf of the city council.

Mr Whitehead is leading the scheme and has experience with similar adventure centres after previously working for Centre Parcs.

He said the idea came about after talks between his and Mrs Morgan’s trust company LJM Asset Management and Carlisle Leisure.

“We were discussing potential investment opportunities and Carlisle Leisure asked us if we would be interested in helping to provide better leisure facilities in the city”, Mr Whitehead explained.

“They wanted to put something in that area of the park and we came up with the concept of the high ropes. It is a really unique location in the city centre and will be accessible by everyone.

“The course will blend into the park and we have been very sensitive with the design, especially as it is so close to the castle.”

The high ropes course will be split into two levels - one at nine metres high and the other four metres - both with 16 different activities on each level.

The zip wire will be nine metres high and the climbing wall, which will also be nine metres high, will be made to look like the castle wall.

Mr Whitehead said that high ropes courses have a 100 per cent safety record and three full time and five seasonal, professionally trained staff will be employed.

Children aged five and above will be able to try out the high ropes while a smaller one metre high version will be created for younger children.

Mr Whitehead insisted that all the activities will be affordable to every family and will be based on a token system.

He added: “Everyone involved is really excited – our investment will be upwards of £250,000 and we’re confident we can make this happen.”

Mr Whitehead also revealed he hopes the scheme will be completed and open by next Easter.

Carlisle City Council planners are expected to make a decision on the scheme by November 13.

Have your say

This development, although advantageous to tourism and for the extension of leisure facilities in the city, is too close to the Castle! What are they thinking of? There are plenty of places to put it, what about next to the Sheepmount or on Rickerby Park.

Posted by Jenny Smith on 4 November 2013 at 10:41

Do Carlisle a favour leave it out West they need it a bit more than Carlisle

Posted by Anon on 2 October 2013 at 10:53

View all 8 comments on this article

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