Monday, 27 September 2021

Skate park plans still on track

CAMPAIGNERS for a new £200,000 skate park in Henley have delayed applying for funding for a year but insist they are still making good progress.

CAMPAIGNERS for a new £200,000 skate park in Henley have delayed applying for funding for a year but insist they are still making good progress.

The Henley Skate Park Initiative decided against applying for a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council?s community investment fund because it couldn?t prepare a detailed planning proposal before applications close today (Friday).

Instead, it will apply next spring having hopefully obtained planning permission to replace the existing skate park in Makins recreation ground later this year.

It also plans to apply for a grant from Lottery-funded Sport England and it is developing a text message donation service.

Colin Brathwaite, who chairs the initiative, said a working group which includes town councillors was developing a detailed plan and had made ?excellent? progress.

He said: ?We are currently working on the tender document, which will be sent out to our three shortlisted suppliers. Once we have made our supplier choice, we will work with them to finalise a design that fits our brief.?

The group has been given detailed plans of the site by the town council and a local architect and surveyor has offered to carry out a free topographical survey. Mr Brathwaite said there was huge support for the project.

?I am always getting stopped in town by parents and young people asking when the skate park will be open,? he said. ?They really cannot wait to use it. Just the idea of it is making a lot of people extremely happy.?

The initiative wants a new concrete skate park because it says the current facility is dated, noisy and unsuitable.

The new park would be about 1,000 square metres ? twice the size of the existing one.

Councillor Kellie Gehrmann, who chairs the working group, said: ?It is good that the town council has taken some ownership and this will make us more prepared when we do apply for funding. In the meantime there are different funding avenues that we will be exploring so it may be that next year we do not need to apply for as much.?

Supporter Steve Terry, owner of YEUK skate shop in Friday Street, said that interest in skating in Henley was growing.

Parents of skaters often asked him how the skate park project was going and liked to make donations via a collecting tin on the counter.

?My skateboard sales have increased,? he said. ?It is fantastic to see that the Henley skateboard scene can support an independent business.?

Skateboarder George Weait says he can?t wait for a new Henley skate park to open.

The 13-year-old, who is sponsored by YEUK, said: ?There are so many kids my age in Henley who want to skate.

?I think that there should be a safe place to skate that has been properly designed.?

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