THE climbing wall at Swindon’s Link Centre is to be closed to make way for a trampoline park, it has been announced.

Plans for the 1,200-sq metre facility come less than a year after Swindon Borough Council handed over management of the Whitehill Way centre to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which will operate the park under the firm’s Better brand.

The firm says the move is part of a £2 million investment programme at the centre, which will also include new birthday party rooms and a refurbished café area.

It also said no staff would be lost in the change, with climbing wall workers being redeployed to similar roles at the trampoline park.

Paul Shearman, partnership manager for Better, said the concept was already popular in the US and emerging in the UK.

“The trampoline park will be one of the very first of its kind to launch in the UK,” he said. “We will be using the latest technology and equipment to provide exciting opportunities for the people of Swindon. It will be open to everyone regardless of fitness levels, experience or age, with fully trained trampolining coaches on hand to provide expert help and advice.”

“Trampolining provides cardiovascular benefits and enhances skills such as agility and balance.

“As a low-impact workout, it is much easier on joints and well-suited for people recovering from injuries.”

But not everyone has welcomed the move. Emma Millett said her children, Verity, nine, and 13-year-old Charles, had seen huge benefits since taking up the sport.

“It’s just such a shame,” she said. “Swindon has young climbers who compete in competitions throughout the UK and Europe. Our friend, Sharna King, who has just got back from Nepal, learnt to climb there. She inspired my kids to start climbing.”

Emma said the news would be all the more tragic after the wall celebrated it’s 30th birthday at the centre last month.

“Nobody said anything at the birthday celebrations or anything,” she said.

“It’s just a shame. There are so many people who have learned to compete there and are competing at a national and even international level.

“The children have loved it. We moved here from Devizes and they started climbing there in November. They’ve made so many friends there and they were nearly ready to start competing.”

She said the nearest wall of similar status was a 90-minute drive away, in Cardiff.

But Mr Shearman said the new facility would offer different qualities for Swindon.

“Our mission at Better is to help get more people, more active, more often and trampoline play is a unique, safe way for everyone to have fun, while at the same time gaining significant health and fitness benefits,” he said.

Swindon Borough Council controversially handed over a 25-year lease to the Link Centre — along with Croft Sports Centre, Delta Tennis Centre, and Haydon Centre leisure facilities — in June 2014 in the latest bid to save £1.5 million a year in subsidies.

The firm has recently come under fire from Swindon councillors over proposals to move the West Swindon library from its existing premises at the Link Centre.