Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bidders unveil skate park plans

DESIGNS for a new £100,000 skate park in Sonning Common have been revealed.

DESIGNS for a new £100,000 skate park in Sonning Common have been revealed.

Three companies bidding for the contract to build the amenity presented their plans at an open evening in the village hall.

More than 60 people attended the event, including youngsters who will be able to use skateboards, BMXs, rollerblades and scooters at the skate park.

Jeremy Donaldson, of Wheelscape, a company which has built skate parks all over the world, said: “Our design is to show the scale and ambition of what can be achieved and what’s realistic.

“It’s a starting point to meet with the community and find out what they want — whether they want it to be dynamic and technical or if they want it to be big and fast, which seemed to be the most popular aspect.

“People I spoke to were easy to engage with and were forthcoming with what they liked, so that bodes well for the future.

“This is about bringing everyone together and finding out what they agree on and allowing the people who are going to use it to help make those decisions. We like the idea that when we’ve finished the project the kids feel like they’ve designed the park.”

Marc Churchill, of 1Skate Parks, said his company’s design catered for all-comers.

He said: “It’s for every discipline, age and ability. We want an open design so people can see it’s safe to use and for it to stand the test of time.

“We want it to be something for people to aspire to and where they gain skills but not too quickly — we want the park to progress with the user.

“A couple of changes can be made to the height and steepness of banks, which we’re happy to do.”

Steven Crawford, of Freestyle Skateparks, showed a film of his firm’s previous projects. He said his design was for a mix of colours to make it more aesthetically pleasing and the skate park would cater for all ages and abilities.

“Everyone was excited about all the designs,” he said.

Douglas Kedge, who chairs Sonning Common Parish Council, said: “It was a very valuable event.

“The three firms gave a very interesting display and the young people were immersed in the occasion, showing a lot of interest. Some of the youngsters were there for over an hour talking to everyone.

“A couple of parents came in and said they were very appreciative of what we’re doing generally and the skate park in particular. It will be a great acquisition for the village’s young people and giving them a say is absolutely essential. We need to know what the youngsters want before we issue contracts.”

Cllr Kedge said the council would analyse the feedback forms before selecting a preferred bidder. A consultation process would then be held before final designs are submitted.

Plans must be approved by South Oxfordshire District Council before fund-raising can begin.

Alex Jolly, 15, who has a BMX, scooter and roller blades, said he was impressed by the designs.

“It’s a hard decision to pick one — they are all pretty good,” he said. “We’re glad the council is doing this because we have wanted a skate park for a couple of years.”

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