‘Game-changing’ community project will create Portsmouth’s first undercover skatepark

A BRAND new skatepark will bring a ‘fresh buzz’ to Portsmouth, promises one councillor as a community project has unveiled its exciting plans.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 8:13 am
Jacob Skinner, fiancé Jenna Boyson, and baby Emi Skinner. Picture: Olaiya Olufemi

Portsmouth City Centre will welcome a new community facility on Commercial Road, which will house the city’s first undercover skatepark.

Undercover Skatepark Project will be renting the former Sainsbury's building on Commercial Road from new owners, Portsmouth City Council.

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Jacob Skinner holds the keys alongside fiancé Jenna Boyson, and baby Emi Skinner. Picture: Olaiya Olufemi

Jacob Skinner, tenant and founder of the project, said: ‘We're so happy to find a home for this game-changing community project.

‘It's great that the council have given us this opportunity to fulfil our vision and become the home of Portsmouth skateboarding.

‘However, we've got loads of other exciting plans for how we're going to use this community space, where people of all ages and abilities can come to learn, have fun and be creative.’

Detailed plans for the site's future are currently being put together but in the meantime, the council has agreed a temporary license with Underground Skatepark Project which is subject to certain conditions, allowing them early access.

Cllr Ben Dowling, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and economic development, said: ‘Jacob's vision for a creative community hub is so much more than just a skatepark.

‘It's a much needed facility in an area of the City Centre that has faced challenges and a great example of what we're trying to encourage going forward.

‘We want our City Centre to evolve with the times and have a fresh buzz about it, offering inclusive and engaging things to do and see and providing social value.’

Undercover Skatepark Project has been working through the visual plans for the site which people will be able to see soon.

Supporters of the project have included Victorious Festival, Bored of Southsea, Croxtons and Wooden Skateboards and fundraising is ongoing.

Tom Southall, assistant director property and investment at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘This is a great example of how the community are able to make temporary use of an empty building whilst the council works up its development plans.

‘This big building should provide an excellent location for the group to develop their business model and provide the City with its first undercover skatepark.’

Undercover Skatepark Project previously campaigned to repurpose the land underneath the M275’s Rudmore flyover into an all-weather extreme sports facility.

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