A rock climbing centre is set to open its third branch this summer.
Customers have expressed their sadness at the closure of the £1 million trampoline park, which opened at Chatham Maritime in 2016, with one stating: “Such a shame! My daughter used to love it here.”
But Chimera says its new centre, near the Dockside Outlet, will be a “hub for the local community”.
It will be the company’s “biggest wall yet” and will be its first with an outdoor boulder.
Chimera, which describes itself as an “indoor rock climbing gym boasting one of the finest bouldering walls in the south east of England”, already has a facility in Tunbridge Wells and an indoor rock climbing gym in Canterbury.
The Tunbridge Wells centre opened in 2013, followed by the Canterbury branch in 2019.
The centres offer climbing for all ages and abilities. Children aged over five can have a go and they offer children’s parties too.
There are children’s lessons for ages five to 16 and school holiday clubs. They offer a range of adult lessons including a taster session for newcomers and women-only classes.
The new wall will have a dedicated children’s zone and there will be routes for all abilities as well as a training area.
The Chatham branch is expected to create at least 15 jobs.
Chimera will work with schools to make sure as many pupils get to give it a go as possible, and there will be film nights as well as a shop and cafe.
The walls have been designed by a British-based, eco-friendly company along with an award-winning architect.
There will also be yearly competitions and special events with guest speakers from the climbing community.
One of Chimera’s directors Chris Searle said: “We are really looking forward to opening and welcoming in all the local climbers, as well as everyone else who wants to try bouldering for the first time.
“The build is progressing really well and we are on track to open this summer.”
Director Andre Hedger added: “We have already recruited some fantastic staff.
“Training has commenced, and we are so excited for so many locals to become part of the Chimera crew.
“The plans for the centre have been designed to create a really welcoming, inclusive space where climbers and non-climbers can both thrive alongside each other. We can’t wait to welcome you all in.”