Edinburgh sporting venue faces ‘threat’ of closure due to new housing plans

Bosses at the city centre’s only bouldering facility, Alien Bloc, fear the centre may be forced to close due to new landlords’ plans to redevelop.

By Shona Elliott
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:55 am

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Heads of the climbing centre have urged the public to support Alien Bloc ahead of public consultation about the sporting venue's future.

Bosses are worried that their facilities will be ‘bulldozed’ to make way for a new housing development despite reassurance from new landlord, HUB, that this is not their plan.

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Bosses at Alien Bloc fear the centre may be forced to close.

HUB has already outlined initial proposals for a ‘mixed-use’ project to take over the site on Dunedin Street, but stressed it would listen to feedback from the community before submitting official blueprints to city planning chiefs.

Managing director of HUB Damien Sharkey has insisted that it fully understands the value of Alien Bloc and looks forward to contributing to its long term future in the area.

Mr Sharkey said: “HUB is delighted to have had a positive initial engagement with both our tenants at Dunedin Street to ensure that these successful local businesses can continue to thrive in the area.

“Early engagement with our tenants is fundamental to ensuring our emerging proposals meet the needs of our existing tenants and the wider local community. HUB takes great pride in having ensured all the businesses we’ve engaged with on all our developments have been able to continue to operate successfully and we’re confident that can be achieved here.

“HUB fully understands the value of having Alien Bloc in this location. Alien Bloc is a fantastic facility, and we look forward to continuing to work with Alien Rock to ensure their long-term future is here at Dunedin St or nearby.”

However, the team at Alien Bloc remains unconvinced about the long-term security of their business and say they fear forced closure.

The team has asked anyone with a vested interest in the climbing centre to consider publicly supporting Alien Bloc.

A spokesperson from the climbing centre said: “Alien Bloc is under long-term threat due to potential redevelopment of the site by new landlord.”

The spokesperson added that if Alien Bloc closes, this will remove bouldering opportunities from the city centre.

They said: “Without public support the ability to go to a large indoor climbing wall in central Edinburgh could be lost - possibly forever.”

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