Skatepark street course is ‘twice as big and four times as complex’

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The proposed design for a new skatepark in Bury St Edmunds was due to be submitted to planners this week.

It follows a series of design workshops between Bury Skatepark Experience, a committee formed by the park’s users, and Wheelscape, the company selected to carry out the work.

The latest meeting took place on Tuesday after the group’s AGM, at which it’s newly acquired charity status was discussed and a cheque for £20,000 was handed to the committee.

Cllr Stefan Oliver, who presented the cheque on behalf of Bury Town Council, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. The whole thing’s been such a success and the fact that they’ve made their own committee and run their own affairs is marvellous, and it gives such a lot of young people something to do, which is really good.”

Wheelscape architect Jeremy Donaldson said the submitted design would incorporate features of the park’s current ramps into a new bowl feature, ‘all joined together in a seamless flow,’ and a street course double the size of the current one and with four times the level of complexity.

He said: “We’ve taken all the best features from the current ramp complex, which is quite elaborate and pretty fun, albeit a bit battered, and made it into one bowl.

“We then have a separate street course which is a much bigger, better, modern space for people to gather and wait for their turn, and socialise as well.”

On working with the committee, he said: “The group have been really good about balancing what looks good on paper and what would be good in real life. They have a lot of experience from going to other parks and they know how things fit on the site already.

“They’ve got their heads screwed on. I think they’re making very good decisions about the amount of things to include in the park. I admire and value their dedication, and their interest and commitment to it.”

Work to upgrade the Olding Road site is expected to start around the end of August, subject to planning approval being granted.

A farewell event will be held before the park’s closure.

Reason for and cost of revamp:

The skatepark’s current wooden structure was installed in 1999 at a cost of £36,000.

It is now at the end of its life for safe use and costs around £6,000 a year in up keep.

The new skatepark will cost in the region of £240,000 but will be made from concrete so should be cheaper to maintain.

So far, the committee has raised around £192,000.