A CLIMBING centre in Bridport has passed its first hurdle.

Members of Bridport Town Council's planning committee had no objections to plans to change what had been Pam's secondhand furniture shop in Priory Mill into a climbing practice centre, despite some objections from neighbours.

William Martin of Rockburn Ltd, based in Morcombelake, plans to open the centre for six days a week from noon to 9pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 8.30pm on weekends.

He hopes to have a cafe, a 'bouldering' arena, circuit boards and a training area and if he gets planning permission wants to run a crowdfunding campaign.

He said: "My plan has always been to give something back to the local community where I grew up, to enhance and improve activities in the local area for young, and older, people to try something new, an interest that provides health and social benefits to the town and surrounding area."

Neighbours Lynda Scott-Williams and Neil Watson, who live in flat conversions in the Grade II listed Priory Mill building, have written to object.

Mr Watson said: "The proposed change of use will have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties as it is likely that users of the leisure facility will park in the private off-street areas of Priory Lane. Such a facility which can offer no patrons parking is not appropriate to a residential area.

"In addition the hours of business will likely extend into evenings and weekends so the additional use over the previous retail will disrupt the quiet enjoyment of our property."

Ms Scott-Williams said it would be noisy and make the roads around Priory Mill more dangerous.

She said: "The proposed business will not rely on footfall. It will be a 'destination' for those wishing to engage in climbing practice.

"Great care is already required when driving out of Priory Lane, since cares travelling down Gundry Lane often forget to 'give way' before turning into St Michael's Lane.

"Residents of Priory Mills and Gardens also know to take care when coming out of the lane when turning the corner longwise this building. Those unfamiliar with the road are likely to travel too fast both into and out of the enclave."

Mr Martin said he didn't foresee a problem with parking and any music played would create atmosphere and the premises would be closed before it could be classed as anti social.

He added: "Being a long-term climber, we are used to having to walk three or four miles with a 40kg pack to go climbing, hence a 100 yard walk from one of the many town car parks is not a concern highlighted within the research that was conducted to support this venture.

"We will be monitoring the noise level and staff will be aware that we have neighbours adjoining the property. I can assure you that music will not be blasting out for hours on end."