7th Dec, 2016

Dreams of a new skatepark dashed as council chiefs don't have the cash

Joshua Godfrey 8th Apr, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

DREAMS of a new skatepark in Evesham have been dashed after council chiefs said they don’t have the money for the work.

A petition had been launched by frustrated skateboarder Shay Colston, which more than 100 people had signed, calling on Wychavon District Council to rebuild what he described as the ‘cramped’ and ‘rugged’ skateboarding site in Abbey Park.

Mr Colston had hoped the petition would get council chiefs to bring in Maverick Industries, who specialise in designing and building skateparks, to build the town a new skatepark, replacing the current one which was first opened in 2004.

Wychavon has now responded to the petition ending hope of a new skatepark as they said they need to make savings of £1.1million within the next four years.

However, the council hasn’t ruled out supporting Mr Colston in the future if he can find land and raise the cash for a new skatepark.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Colston said he will continue his petition despite the setback.

“I will still keep pushing the petition and I am going to send an application to Evesham Town Council regarding the New Homes Bonus in the hope they can help in some way or another,” he said.

“It’s going to cost £100,000 plus for a whole new skatepark. I’d love to be able to raise that amount of money, but without any help from Wychavon there is no chance.

The frustrated skateboarder said he launched the petition because of numerous complaints from those who use the park about how ‘outdated’ it is.

“The skatepark was built back in 2004 and it shows. The ramps and concrete are very rugged and with all the wasted space it is cramped,” he added.

“Everybody who skates the park complains about it. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t take an interest in skateboarding how bad the park actually is. To a normal person a ramp is a ramp but if they were to ride them they would realise how badly the park needs improving.

Responding to the petition, Coun Gerry O’Donnell, portfolio holder for community development, culture and sport on Wychavon District Council, said: “The skate park is regularly maintained and meets current standards.

“Given the cuts to our government funding and the fact we still need to save £1.1million by 2020/21 from our budget, it will not be possible for us to build a new skate park.

“On top of that finding a suitable location will prove difficult, due to regulations which state skate parks must be situated 150 metres away from housing due to noise.

“We have looked at alternative locations in the past but none of them have met this requirement. Extending the skate park on its current site is also not an option because it is too close to the floodplain.

“If people want to form their own community group to raise funds to support this project and can find a viable new site, which is supported by the landowner and meets all relevant regulations, then we would be happy to look at their proposal to see how we could support it.”

Visit www.change.org and search ‘Get Maverick Industries to build a new skate park in Evesham.’ to view the petition.