30th November 2020
On board with Skatepark Scheme
The project to replace the Bradford on Avon Skatepark recently reached a new milestone, with the unveiling to Councillors of first-stage designs for the new park and a planning application now being prepared. Based on consultation with the user group representing skateboarders from the town, the design includes elements to challenge more experienced riders, and some which will encourage beginners to get involved. The sport is expected to feature as a British medal prospect in the next Summer Olympic games, which is likely to lead to an increase in uptake among children and young people.
Town Councillors confirmed in January 2020 that the new facility would sit on the same site as the original skatepark, which was removed in early 2018 following long-term maintenance problems and subsequent vandalism, (see photo), which led to the site being declared unsafe by its owner, Wiltshire Council.
The new park is planned to be part of a wider project for Poulton playing field and meadow, which could see improvements to the existing play area and enhancements such as footpaths, to improve maintenance and access across the fields to Fitzmaurice School and the Youth and Community Centre.
The site has also been part of the recently commissioned Biodiversity Survey, and in line with the declaration of an Ecological Emergency in June 2020, Councillors are keen to ensure that the site fits well with its surroundings, and that planting around the park enhances the natural environment.
Russ Holbert is Director of Maverick Industries, the company selected in 2019 to manage the project and build the new park. They have delivered successful parks around the UK, including several high-profile projects in Wiltshire.
Describing the proposed wheeled-sports facility (acknowledging that it can be used by BMX and Scooter riders too), Russ said:
“If the town doesn’t have a skatepark, it becomes the skatepark. Lack of facilities leads to young people on the roads and in the way of pedestrians and traffic. Having a free-to-use, dedicated space enables people to ride safely in an outdoors environment, getting exercise and socially interacting with others. These facilities allow riders to learn new skills and release energy and they are proven to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve mental health.
Most young people are riding some form of wheeled sport device and as a result these facilities offer something for everyone regardless of age, background or gender. The ongoing live petition in Bradford on Avon demonstrates the level of demand for a facility in the town with hundreds of signatures.”
Leader of the Council, Dom Newton, said:
“Town Councillors first accepted the proposal for a replacement park back in 2018, with a contractor appointed in mid-2019 and initial feasibility and site reviews completed by the end of that year. While progress has been delayed this year due to COVID-19, it’s really great to see the project moving towards a position where we can go for planning consent and, hopefully, see on the ground progress by the middle of next year.
There is a clear and demonstrable need for this facility in Bradford on Avon – especially at a time when access to outside space and activities is so important to health and well-being. It is also really important to show young people that their needs matter; that they are just as important as the rest of us.”
The total cost of the project is likely to be in excess of £200k. In order for the Town Council to apply for external funding it will be necessary to show community support in the form of private donations. If you would like to contribute to the BoA Skatepark fund, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.
You can find out more about local support for a new skatepark in Bradford on Avon, by visiting the ‘A New Skatepark for BoA’ Facebook page HERE