Skate park in Small Dole saved as ‘people power’ prevails

DM15221764a.jpg Smal Dole skate park. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151013-154250008
DM15221764a.jpg Smal Dole skate park. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151013-154250008

‘People power’ has prevailed to ensure that vital repairs will be made to the community skate park in Small Dole.

A question mark has hovered over the future of the skate park after it was closed by Upper Beeding Parish Council in October 2015.

However, former councillor Joyce Shaw – who helped to deliver the facility in the first place – formed the Upper Beeding Parish Council Skatepark Subcommittee along with Sandra Brooker.

Their campaign has ended in success, with the parish council agreeing to a rebuild, which began last week.

The work is being undertaken by Radii Ramps, a skate park repair company headed by Rob Steele.

Mrs Brooker, chair of the subcommittee, said: “We are delighted that Upper Beeding Parish Council have agreed for the work to be done, and to be undertaken by Rob, who is a BMX rider himself so has an insight into what is wanted.

“It is a great result and just shows what ‘people power’ can achieve!”

The skate park was initially closed when inspectors ruled up to £50,000 needed to be spent to make it safe.

Mrs Shaw, who served the parish council for 20 years, accused the council of not doing enough to preserve it, and the subcommittee was founded soon after.

It also included experienced skateboarder Jake Brooker and chairman of the parish council Simon Birnstingl.

The group suggested that the half pipe, which was in good order but with a small problem, would remain.

But work needed to be done to remove rotten wood, change the ramps and recycle reusable wood – as well as adding features to appeal to different ages and levels of expertise.

Mrs Brooker said: “Even while it has been looking very sad it has still been popular with many youngsters, who have been looking forward to seeing the rebuild get underway.

“At first it was difficult to find a company who might be prepared to repair and restore the equipment, but then we managed to find someone who was happy to come and view and give suggestions as to what we could do.

“The rebuild started late last week with the removal of the dangerous parts to make some of the park usable short term. The fencing that has been erected as a safety measure can then be removed.”

A Facebook page will be created for skate park users to add comments and raise any problems that occur.

Mr Birnstingl added: “I think it is a very good result. We are happy with a number of aspects of it.

“The young people are going to have a skatepark - they don’t have many amenities here so it is good to provide something like that.”

He also urged local people to consider joining the parish council, who have just seven councillors for 15 positions.

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