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Funding for Henley skate park stalled
Published 15/05/14

PLANS for a £250,000 skate park in Henley have suffered a setback.

The team behind the project had hoped to apply for a £100,000 capital grant from South Oxfordshire District Council this year.

But the Henley Skate Park Initiative has been told it cannot apply for the money until planning permission has been granted and that isn’t expected for a few weeks.

Now the group will have to wait until next year to apply.

It has also applied for £50,000 from Sport England but the success of this could depend on receiving the district council grant.

Colin Brathwaite, who is co-ordinating the Initiative, said: “One of the challenging things when trying to raise money for a community project is it’s always much easier to get funding when you have already got funding in place so it is a bit of a catch-22 situation.

“Obviously not being able to apply for the communities capital grant this year is disappointing but, as with any ambitious project, there are bound to be setbacks.

“We are determined to achieve our goal. History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed.

“They won because they refused to become discouraged by their setbacks.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann told a meeting of the town council last week that the Initiative had been told previously that planning permission would not be necessary to apply for the grant.

“This is very, very unfortunate,” he said. “There is likely to be a delay unless we find alternative funding.”

The council has agreed to give £75,000 towards the project and the group has raised £5,000 itself.

The council applied for planning permission in February and a decision is expected later this month or next.

Mr Brathwaite said: “We have shown a need for the skate park and we have a lot of support from across town so we are quietly confident that we stand a good chance of success.” The new skate park in Makins recreation ground would be 850sqm and replace the existing 500sqm skate park and a section of the car park.

Maverick Industries, from Poole, which specialises in skate parks, has been chosen to design it.

Mr Brathwaite said the results of a noise survey carried out at the site recently showed the facility would be “considerably quieter” than the current skate park.

Henley Youth Festival recently presented a cheque for £750 to the group.

The money was raised during collections at this year’s festival performances at the Kenton Theatre and Shiplake College and during the art exhibition at Henley Youth Centre.

Lucie Henwood, who co-chairs the youth festival, said: “We were delighted to be able to hand over such a sizeable donation to the skate park initiative.”

A text donation service has been set up in conjunction with the youth festival.

If you would like to make a donation, text HYFT21 and the amount you would like to give to 70070. There is a limit of £10.

The Initiative can also be contacted through email at info@henleyskatepark.org

Published 15/05/14

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