‘Change of use from Workshop/Showroom (Class 4) to Entertainment venue for throwing axes (Class 11).’
This planning proposal lands with a satisfying thud.
It has been lodged by the Black Axe Throwing Co. and concerns Unit 2 at 25 Beaverhall Road (21/06212/FUL), part of the Beaverhall Business Centre’s ground floor.
No plans are available online, but the Design Statement accompanying the application explains how the fun and games proceed at the company’s other existing venues in Summerhall and Belfast.
Customers compete in teams of two by throwing axes at timber targets. They do so along lanes fenced by steel mesh. A sandpit below the target safely collects any axes that may bounce off.
Trained instructors monitor each pair, issuing safety guidelines and instructions on technique. With a bit of practice, even those who don’t know their belly from their knob can soon start having fun.
The company’s website adds that the entertainment is accompanied by ‘A Valhalla soundtrack a Viking would be proud of.’
The Black Axe Throwing Co. has had no issues with local authorities or police in the past.
Under the proposed scheme in Beaverhall, each session would last an hour, with a maximum of 40 people (including staff) on site at any one time.
Hang on a minute
The Beaverhall Business Centre, where this new venture is envisaged, would be demolished under residential plans being formulated for the area by owners HUB (21/04608/PAN). So what’s going on?
Spurtle checked with the developer after a presentation at last night's New Town & Broughton Community Council. They confirmed that while looking for imaginative, non-residential ground-floor uses here which will foster a sense of belonging and community, hurling axes is not at the forefront of their thinking.
BATC's proposal is, like rosebuds proffered by berserkers, an interim measure making the most of a short-term opportunity.
A long history
Throwing axes has taken place for as long as people have tried to scratch a loved-one’s itch across a room without getting out of the armchair. Varieties of the weapon include the Frankish francisca, the Congolese Nzappa zap, and the Native American tomahawk.
However, the activity’s resurgence as a sport began in Europe around 2001, with the USA and Canada rapidly commercialising and expanding the pastime a few years later.
It is now increasingly popular worldwide, with two lanes approved over the summer for a new bar in the Omni Centre (21/01953/FUL). Spurtle will not be visiting during those hours when the venue is licensed to serve alcohol.