Student has high hopes for Bacup quarry

Alex hopes his design ideas will be accepted

Alex hopes his design ideas will be accepted

First published in News by , Reporter

AN ambitious model for a theatre in Bacup’s internationally-famous Lee Quarry has shown a possible way ahead for the town’s ‘adrenaline gateway.”

Keen mountain biker and architecture student Alex MacBeth has formulated blueprints for the groundbreaking idea as part of his final-year project at the University of Central Lancashire.

And while the 21-year-old’s performing arts mecca, complete with cable car access, may remain a pipe dream, supporters say that the proposals mirror some of the early goals of the adventure sports hub.

Alex, from Alsager, near Crewe, came up with the scheme as he is a regular visitor and wanted to make the quarry more attractive to a wider audience.

He said: “I wanted to benefit the existing users and come up with a way of helping them travel to the quarry more easily with their equipment which the cable car system would do.

“I like the idea of creating a performance space somewhere where you wouldn’t expect there to be one and also introduce an entirely different demographic to the quarry, who may have never thought of visiting it before.”

Under his plans, the theatre would be constructed out of sandstone - in tribute to the quarry’s original purpose – with backdrops revolving around the main auditorium by clockwork.

But it’s the cable car element, with cabins travelling up from the foot of the hill, through the performance space to the top of the quarry, which is most striking.

Alex added: “I realise I am suggesting some pretty drastic measures to overcome accessibility issues but I would be extremely pleased if they like the idea.

Coun Andy MacNae, regeneration cabinet member, said: “Alex's idea is certainly bold and actually mirrors some of the original ideas that people had when we first talked about mountain biking in Lee Quarry.

“Certainly improving access to the quarry is something that we want to do and whilst we are open to all ideas I suspect a cable car might be a bit ambitious! But it will be really interesting to see what Alex comes up with and we wish him all the best with the project.”

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