Dave Turnbull On 25th October UKClimbing.com reported (link) that there are plans to move the BMC and the Alpine Club to Sheffield to create a new centre of British mountaineering. This was made public by Angela Smith, the Labour Member of Parliament for the Sheffield Hillsborough constituency and the BMC's parliamentary representative for mountaineering who put forward a motion in House of Commons on Tuesday 23 October drawing attention to Sheffield as the centre for British Climbing.
It has transpired that exploratory discussions have taken place between Sheffield City Council, the BMC, the Alpine Club and the UK Mountain Heritage Trust toward this objective.
Dave Turnbull, CEO of the BMC assured BMC members that , "Any such relocation would clearly require thorough consultation within the BMC," and went on to say, "We're interested in talking to people who might be able to help; by pooling resources and with the right level of external support there must surely be the potential to create a great new show piece facility for British climbing."
Then said on his blog (link), "Just to put people straight - this will only happen if there's a major benefit for the BMC and/or we get an offer we can't refuse. We haven't had that yet so it looks like Manchester for the time being."
At the Alpine Club (www.alpine-club.org.uk), the UKClimbing.com report also put AC President Stephen Venables on the spot (see our report on his win at the Banff Mountain Book Festival here). His latest newsletter to AC members has as its central topic the 'centre for British Climbing" and he confirmed that there have been discussions. He said that,
"There have indeed been some exploratory discussions between me, other members of the Alpine Club committee and the BMC about the possibility of some kind of sharing of premises in the future, possibly in Sheffield. Nothing has been decided."
He further states his view that he would be in favour of a move north as overheads could be shared and that the AC library could benefit from having "more spacious, accessible surroundings."
However he echoed Dave Turnbull's view by reassuring the AC's members that any move wouldn't be decided on "before carrying out a
comprehensive consultation with the entire membership."