9th Dec, 2019

Skateboarders hit out at closure of skate park to make way for new scout HQ

SKATEBOARDERS have hit out at the closure of a skate park in Warwick to make way for a new scout headquarters.

The facility in St Nicholas Park has been removed so work can begin on 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts new £680,000 HQ in November.

Signs installed at the site claim a new skate and BMX park will be built in the new year next to the current park.

But Leamington and Warwick Skateboarding Group – which spearheaded the campaign to have a skate park built in Victoria Park in 2016 and is designing the new site – say it will take longer than that.

And they fear while St Nicholas Park is closed users will move to Victoria Park which could lead to injuries due to overcrowding.

Group spokesman Mark Taylor said: “This has not been thought out by the council, this is a popular facility. The council has known about the scout hut for long enough.

“Closing St Nicholas Park will send more people to Victoria Park and then it gets hectic. It only has capacity for four or five people at a time.

“We had some bad injuries there over summer when it was busy, including teeth being knocked out and broken bones. The children this happened to weren’t using the skate park properly, they were using it as a playground.

“The signs around St Nicholas Park say the new site will open in the new year but our planning application hasn’t been finished yet, I think saying that has been done to appease people.

“After our application for Victoria Park was completed it took a year.”

Friends of St Nicholas Park say the facility should not have closed and the council should pay for the skate park – which is set to cost £380,000 and is being grant funded. Currently some £220,000 has been raised.

Friends spokeswoman Linda Bromley said: “The decision by Warwick District Council to close the skateboard park on St Nicholas Park is to be deplored.

“This facility is extremely popular with many local youngsters of all ages, as was the BMX track. Local children will be devastated at the loss of yet another facility.

“With the demise of 30 youth centres in Warwickshire, including the one adjacent to our park, our local youth are left with precious few amenities to promote their health and wellbeing.

“It must be possible for councillors to find some money in their coffers. What price do we put on the support and encouragement of our disenfranchised youngsters?”

A Warwick District Council spokeswoman said the authority was sorry the building of the headquarters would result in the temporary loss of the skate park.

She added: “We are currently working with a local skate group to facilitate funding and grants to create a much improved skate park on the site, along with a new BMX cycle cross track.

“We very much hope that the new skate and cycling facilities will be in place next year.”

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