Saturday, 21 July 2018

Skate park finished

THE new skate park in Sonning Common is finished.

THE new skate park in Sonning Common is finished.

The £100,000 facility took just five weeks to build at Bishopswood recreation ground, off Horsepond Road, Gallowstree Common, but it is eight years since the idea was first suggested.

It comprises a sloped grind rail, a half pipe, a number of ramps, a set of steps and a roll-in ramp which can be used to build up speed for other ramps.

Youngsters are already using the skate park but there are still some final tasks to be completed, including landscaping and the installation of a safety notice board, bins and benches. An official opening will take place in the summer.

Parish council chairman Douglas Kedge said: “I am delighted it is finished. It has been two-and-a-half years of public work and eight years since conception.

“I am very pleased with the result and it will be a huge asset to Sonning Common and the neighbouring parishes.”

Carole Lewis, a parish councillor who chairs the skate park group, said youngsters were using the skate park before contractors Wheelscape had left the site.

“I could not believe how quickly people started using it,” she said.

“We are waiting for the grass around the park to grow. We are going to put some bark chippings from the entrance to the skate park so people can get there without going through mud.

“When I came down some five or six people were sweeping it to stop mud building up on the wheels of their skateboards.” Jack Stevens, 14, of Orchard Avenue, Sonning Common, has taken his BMX to the skate park every other day since it was finished.

“It’s great to have something to do instead of sitting outside a shop,” said Jack, a pupil at Chiltern Edge School.

“We can come and use the skate park and play football on the fields. I will use it even more in the summer when I will have more free time.”

The skate park was paid for with a £60,000 grant from Lafarge Tarmac, a £15,000 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council’s community investment fund and a £15,000 loan from the parish council.

The rest of the money came from community fund-raising events, including a sponsored cycle ride by regulars at the Butchers Arms pub in Blounts Court Road, which raised £2,000.

The contract went out to tender and designs were presented to residents in February 2013 before planning permission was granted by South Oxfordshire District Council.

In 2010, 11-year-old Archie Stevenson, of Grove Road, Sonning Common, appealed to the parish council for a BMX park, saying he and his friends had nothing to do.

He said: “Sonning Common needs something for older children and a skate park or BMX park would be a great place for them to enjoy being outside.”

One of the new benches will be sponsored by neighbouring Peppard Parish Council.

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