Building work on Kingsbridge’s new skatepark will commence next week (September 18), South Hams District Council has said.
The skatepark is a joint project involving South Hams District Council, Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group and Kingsbridge Town Council.
To bring the project to fruition, a crowdfunder scheme was launched by Kingsbridge residents earlier this year, raising more than £38,000 in just a couple of months. This caught the attention of Sport England, which offered funding of £100,000, which in turn gave a significant boost for the project and helped kick-start building work.
Further funding has been provided by Kingsbridge Town Council (£50,000) South Hams District Council (£30,000) along with Section 106 Developer’s Funding (£25,000), The Gibbons Trust (£5,000) and The Norman Family Trust (£5,000).
The skatepark is expected to be completed before the end of the year, putting the project well ahead of the first target of spring next year, South Hams District Council said in a statement.
Philip Cole, Chairman of Kingsbridge Town Council, said: “A new skatepark for the town has been our primary objective, with the support of large swathes of the local community.
“We reflected this with our contribution of £50,000 towards this project. Kingsbridge has a chequered history of skateboarding in the town, and we are delighted that finally the young people of Kingsbridge will get the skatepark they have long deserved.”
Cllr Victor Abbott, South Hams Executive Member for Community Services and Leisure, said he had been impressed with the level of support shown by the local community - in particular Adam Sherring of the Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group and the contribution from Sport England.
Adam Sherring said: “The success of this project is down to the amazing support it’s had from our residents, businesses and local councils.
“It’s no mean feat raising that level of money, especially so during a cost of living crisis, but it goes to show how much we all value the physical and mental health of our community. Kingsbridge will now have a wheeled sports facility they can be proud of.”
Some residents have raised concerns about the suggested loss of nine trees above the skatepark site in the first landscaping scheme, which was intended to reduce branches, leaves and debris falling from the trees overhanging the skatepark area.
Following a review prompted by the leader of the council, officers, partners and district councillors reached a compromise. Of the nine trees first suggested for removal, four will be kept (three elm trees and an oak). A method of pruning called ‘pollarding’ will now be used as a means of caring for the elms in a sustainable way.
The District Council has promised the five trees being removed will be replaced with at least 22 large trees. They will all be planted in locations near the skatepark this winter. This includes on the bank above the skatepark, which will adding to the quayside Kingsbridge Tree Trail and the green spaces, south of the leisure centre.
There have also been suggestions on how to make proposed additional planting under the new trees appear more natural on the nearby bank. These recommendations will guide District Council staff on what planting takes place.
The skatepark scheme was also redesigned to make sure it would not impact on the public right of way behind the skatepark site.
Construction will be carried out by Wheelscape, an experienced skatepark construction design and build company, which has been working closely with both the skating community and the District Council over the past year.