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Skate park designs go on show
Published 05/02/14

DESIGNS for a new £250,000 skate park in Henley have been shown to the public for the first time.

The Henley Skate Park Initiative exhibited a first draft of the scheme at the town hall on Saturday.

There were overhead diagrams and artists’ impressions of the facility which is due to replace the existing skate park in Makins Recreation Ground.

Maverick Industries, which has been chosen to design and build the park, showed photographs of similar projects it has created in other towns.

The skate park will be about twice the size of the existing one, which users say is dated, noisy and unsuitable.

It will be surrounded by a new 1.8m-wide footpath with access from the car park on the north side and Greys Road.

On the southern side, a row of 10ft mature trees will be planted and there will be three embankments with benches.

The obstacles in the park will be made of concrete and will be set in the ground. The main skating area will be surrounded by a bank of earth, which the initiative says will make it less obtrusive.

The draft proposal includes a sunken bowl-shaped area, six quarter-pipes, a staircase and a number of ledges, ramps and walls.

It will be suitable for skateboarders, BMX bikers and people on roller skates or roller scooters.

The initiative will seek planning permission for an area of 1,000 sq n but says the finished park is likely to be smaller.

It says the park will be quieter as concrete resonates less than the hollow metal ramps currently in use.

Several dozen people attended the two-hour consultation and were asked to give feedback, which will be used to shape the final proposal.

Colin Brathwaite, who chairs the initiative, said: “The afternoon went very well. The attendance was great, not just from potential users but from local residents who aren’t necessarily likely to use it themselves.

“On the whole, people were very supportive. It’s very refreshing that even people who live nearby can see the positive benefits it will bring.”

Henley Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, a member of the skate park working group, said: “It was great that we got so many people in to look at the plans and we are really quite excited about it.

“The feedback we got was very positive, especially with regard to noise. The new park will be much quieter than the existing one as there will not be that ‘booming’ sound.

“The skate park group is very much listening to the views of nearby residents and taken them into account.”

In November, Henley Town Council pledged a £75,000 grant towards the project. The initiative has applied to Sport England for a £50,000 grant and expects to hear back by the end of next month.

It plans to apply for funding from South Oxfordshire District Council’s community investment fund. It will also receive the proceeds of collections at next month’s Henley Youth Festival.

The current skate park was built just over 10 years ago and cost about £80,000.

In November, one of the half-pipes was fenced off after it developed holes and the town council feared it could injure users.

The designs for the new park are now on display in the YEUK skate shop in Friday Street.

Published 05/02/14

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