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New York-style plans unveiled for Nottingham bridge arches

A new lease agreement struck for the arches under Lady Bay Bridge will create a focal point similar to Brooklyn Bridge in New York, it’s hoped.

West Bridgford-based Mock Rock has taken on a five-year lease for the arches, a building and a yard tucked away underneath the bridge off Meadow Lane and east of Nottingham Forest’s City Ground home.

A climbing wall is located under the bridge and the firm hopes to transform the area in the hope of creating a concept similar to that seen at Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

The site in Nottingham is known as Arches Adventure Base.

The existing wall will be re-clad to allow it to be painted with temporary mural artwork, to celebrate local charities or events, according to Mock Rock director Ben Hunter.

He said the company planned to restore the bridge back to its original brickwork and remove paint layers.

There are plans for a large separate children’s area.

Anti-climb netting and other safety measures are in mind, too.

The realistic artificial rock that will be used for climbing
The realistic artificial rock that will be used for climbing

The facilities are planned to open in spring next year, with designs still being finalised.

Mr Hunter said: “I’m really excited, I wouldn’t have the confidence to do this without our work installing over 1,000 climbing walls at schools all over the UK.

“I don’t think there’s any problem we haven’t encountered, but a river that floods sporadically might be a new one.

“It’s a brand new concept and there was no point doing the same as what already exists in Nottingham, with two fantastic climbing centres.

An artist's impression of what the site will look like when finished
An artist’s impression of what the site will look like when finished

“Ours is a bridge to the outdoors for people who can’t get to the crag.

“We’ve had lots of support from Nottingham City council and they’ve been onboard every step of the way; Nottingham has a real buzz at the moment.”

Directors of Mock Rock – a company making hand holds for artificial climbing walls – hope to move their whole operation under the bridge, according to a city council document, and call the site The Boatyard Boulders.

Use of the site will be seasonal, from April to the end of October, so the company can make climbing holds in the winter months.

A council document explains the reason for the lease.

It states: “The space is currently being underutilised by Youth Services who intend to vacate their services to other sites.

“It is the existing policy to seek third party tenants for properties surplus to operational requirements (that cannot be sold) and will be a benefit to the financial position of the council by increasing revenue income through an annual rent.

“The bridge has been owned by Nottingham City Council since 1997 (Unitary Status) but the structure is maintained by Nottinghamshire County Council as part of an agreement with the Bridges and Structures team.

“Access will be reserved for maintenance in the new lease, and the bridges team have confirmed that the proposed use does not appear to pose a risk to the operation of the bridge.”

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