First glimpse at designs for new skatepark in former Sainsbury's store in Portsmouth

DESIGNS for a skatepark at a former Sainsbury’s store in Portsmouth have been revealed giving excited skaters a first glimpse at the facility.

By Richard Lemmer
Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:04 pm

The former Sainsbury’s building in Commercial Road closed in January and was purchased by Portsmouth City Council for long-term development plans.

In the meantime, the building will house the Undercover Skatepark Project, which aims to welcome visitors at the end of the year.

Now the project has revealed a preview of the finished space, with the design featuring a wide variety of ramps, ledges, and rails set out to create endless skating tricks.

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The former Sainsbury's building in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, will be converted temporarily into the Undercover Skatepark Project. Picture: PCC

One third of the building will be used for roller discos but will also double up as a shared space for other creative activities.

The skatepark will also feature a shop, cafe, and social area.

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Jacob Skinner, the founder of the project, said: ‘Phase one of the design concentrates on the ground floor and we have worked with a professional designer to finalise our layout.

Jacob Skinner, fiancé Jenna Boyson, and baby Emi Skinner, in the former Sainsbury's store earlier this year. Picture: Olaiya Olufemi

‘There will be elements of street and park obstacles to create a sleek design to suit the space we have but ultimately, there will be something for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an elite athlete in all genres of wheeled sports.

‘The first floor will be designed in the next phase and will focus on other creative activities that we're really looking forward to sharing with everyone soon.’

With skateboarding making its debut at this year's Summer Olympics, Jacob added: ‘The spirit of the skating community is very alive right now.’

The Undercover Skatepark Project is now pursuing crowdfunding and is in talks with businesses across the city who are keen to donate products and services.

Jacob said: ‘We have just received the news that Beach Dubbin’ have raised £3,500 for our cause.

‘We still have a live Go Fund Me, which you can access though our website. If anyone wants to talk further about sponsorship and the rewards we are offering, we are open to conversations.’

The long-term plans for the entire site and the rest of the city centre will be announced after a public consultation on the council’s upcoming local plan, its master plan of developments across the area for the coming years.

Cllr Ben Dowling, cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development said: ‘Jacob’s vision for the skatepark will provide all of those things and so I understand why there is much excitement for this within our city centre.

‘We fully support diverse and inclusive activities within the city centre that encourage good health and communities coming together.’

The public consultation for the local plan will run from September 17 to October 31, with more details to be published on the council's website and in a leaflet that will be delivered city-wide.

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