Land beneath Portsmouth motorway flyover could be transformed into world-class skatepark

LAND beneath one of the city's busiest roads could be transformed into a skate park.

Saturday, 10th February 2018, 4:35 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th February 2018, 4:43 pm
What the skatepark could look like

Friends Jacob Skinner and Jack New are campaigning to turn their ‘dream’ of a Portsmouth all-weather extreme sports facility into a reality.

The pair want to repurpose land underneath the M275’s Rudmore flyover – close to the city entrance.

Currently an unused concrete space, the 28-year-olds believe it would be the perfect place for their Undercover Skatepark Project – which they say could train the Olympians of the future.

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From left, Jack New, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, Jacob Skinner and PCC cabinet member for culture Linda Symes

Mr Skinner, who teaches skateboarding, said: ‘Skateboarding has long been seen as a counter-culture, but having been announced as an Olympic sport from Tokyo 2020, this is a fantastic opportunity.

‘The closest indoor facility is an hour’s drive away and we see this as a great location for several reasons.

‘You won’t get noise complaints because it’s under the M275, it would be using up dead space and it’s in a deprived area, so it could create new opportunities for locals.’

Currently lobbying Portsmouth City Council with their ideas, the friends are liaising with skatepark builders – who have already drawn up first sketches of how the park could look.

From left, Jack New, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, Jacob Skinner and PCC cabinet member for culture Linda Symes

Their plan wowed council leader Donna Jones and cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Linda Symes, in a face-to-face meeting last week.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Jack and Jacob really impressed us with their vision and passion.

‘It made me realise there is an opportunity here for Portsmouth to have a world-class skatepark facility to produce the Olympic champions of the future and another way for young people to keep fit while enjoying themselves.

‘As leader of the city council there is nothing better than being able to work with young, focused entrepreneurs who have a passion to make Portsmouth a better place.’

The business partners say if it is built, the park would match Olympic specifications.

It would also be used as a grassroots training facility for skaters of all skill levels, said Mr New, who runs the Al’Burrito Bus in Cosham.

He said: ‘We have a dream of taking our hobby to a new level – we want to teach youngsters, creating a safe user-friendly skatepark for all to use regardless of weather.

‘For our idea to have received such a warm reception at last week’s meeting feels amazing. We have wanted this since we were kids and we can’t wait to see how things develop.’