Popular skate park could get an £80,000 revamp

From left: PO Adam Hilton,  Father Christmas, Captain Peter Towell, CPO Chris 'Paddy' Gilkes and Malcolm Dent

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A TOP name in skateboarding could spend thousands redeveloping a skate park.

California Skate Parks, the largest skate company in the world, is proposing to pump £80,000 into the existing facility at Wicor Recreation Ground.

The skate company would like to turn the existing wood and steel ramps into state-of- the-art concrete ones.

If Fareham Borough Council approves the plans, the skate company would seek investment from big brands such as Nike, Red Bull and Monster to foot the bill.

Jake Hipwell, European business development manager at California Skate Parks, said: ‘It looks really promising.

‘There are a lot of boarders and BMXers who use the facilities, it will be an improvement for everybody.

‘The key demographic is 13 to 15-year-olds. They are at an awkward age and it does them good to be outside doing ac–tive sports rather than just sat at home on their XBox.’

The idea was hatched when 15-year-old Finley Lomas, from Portchester, created a Facebook user group called Make the Wicor Recreation Ground (skate park) Better!

The BMXer said: ‘Every BMXer, skateboarder, scooterer, roller blader and all who like to go to the skate park in Portchester are sick and tired of the flimsy, metal and bumpy ramps that the council call a ‘skatepark’.

‘This is not enough. We have to travel eight miles to get to Southsea Skatepark – the nearest decent skate park, and you have to pay.

‘The nearest indoor skatepark is in Corby which is 165 miles away.

‘It takes three hours to get there.

‘We want concrete, steel is rubbish.’

The Facebook group has 335 members and is open to anybody to contribute ideas.

Plans for the revamped area would see the introduction of an open bowl, a jump box, a spine, flat bank hips, transitioned hips and a new drainage system.

The new site would be built on the existing location 
and would grow in size from the current 340sq m to 430sq m.

Mr Hipwell said: ‘We are going to take the land and build the council an £80,000 landmark and then hand the land back.

‘We are not asking for any investment from them.

‘It is about giving Fareham a quality facility.’

Susan Bell, chairwoman of the leisure and community panel, said: ‘The skatepark we have at the moment does a good job but if we can get someone to replace it with something more ambitious then it’s a good thing.

‘We need to ensure that it remains open to the public.

‘It is an ambitious project and there are one or two points to be sorted out such as how they are going to raise the funds, but I look forward to hearing more.’

Finley said: ‘It is such a good feeling when you learn something new – if we could do that just down the road it would be amazing.’

The plans will now go before the executive at the council’s meeting in March.

If this plan is successful, the council may consider letting California Skate Parks work on a similar project at a skate park in Fareham Park.