RIVERMEAD will soon have its long-awaited skate park after Swindon Council officially signed off £65,000 for its construction this week.
After months of haggling over the best location for the new skate park, originally destined for Saltway Fields, construction of the park has missed its target of being open for use by this summer.
The funds have now been signed off by cabinet member for leisure Brian Ford, with Wheelscape tasked to carry out the build. The park is expected to cost £500 annually to maintain, which will be covered by the existing grounds maintenance revenue budget.
After the original proposals were made as far back as 2011, the latest delay has disappointed local skaters who say the whole process has taken too long.
Matthew Drever, 30, of the ATB Skate Warehouse, said the drawn-out process meant the contractor had moved on to other jobs.
“Because it took so long for them to make a decision on where the park was going to go, the company that was going to build the park have gone off to work on other projects,” he said.
“Because of that the kids in the west have got to wait again. It is just because they took months and months to get the location sorted the start date has passed.
“Hopefully when they get started and get on with it it won’t take too long before it is ready to go. It is going to start moving into colder times now, but I think the park in Cirencester went up in a couple of months, so this one could go up fairly quickly. This is not a massive site plaza that is going to take six months to build. Then we can just enjoy it rather than talking about it.
“It will be an amazing thing once it is done, and a lot of kids are itching to get this moving. Something like this could bring people from other places into the area, because if you build it people will travel to get to it. It’s going to benefit the whole area.”
Coun Nick Martin, (Con, Shaw), who pushed for the project after being approached by local skaters, said: “This has been dragging on for far too long now, and most of the youngsters who were asking for it to begin with are now becoming young adults.
“It is a pity that it has taken so long, but quite a relief to finally have it going through. All the ward councillors supported this, but the original suggestions received quite a few objections at the planning stage.
“Something like this is necessary for young peopleto have somewhere for themselves, and we have to try and deliver something for everyone.
“I would hope it will be ready for next summer, but it is astonishing how long these things can take. Things seemed to get designed and built quicker in the past.”