Plan to open new Portsmouth skatepark in former Sainsbury's store is given a huge boost

EFFORTS to open a skatepark in the former Sainsbury's store in Portsmouth city centre have moved a 'significant step forward' after councillors awarded the project £35,000.

Named 'Pitt Street – an Undercover Skatepark Project' the scheme aims to open a 'unique' fully-covered facility in the Commercial Road building – the first indoor skatepark in the city.

Funding was awarded by the three Portsmouth city councillors representing the Charles Dickens ward ahead of its planned opening in the coming months.

'We are so proud that our project has reached the point it has and we're massively grateful for the support we have gained from our councillors,' project co-founder Jacob Skinner said. 'We're very excited for the future of Pitt Street – an Undercover Skatepark Project.'

An image of what the new skate park in the former Sainsbury's store will look like

He added that the skatepark was due to open in the spring.

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The project has been supported by the city council, which owns the building having bought it following the supermarket chain's decision to close in January 2021. Last year it granted a temporary licence allowing it to operate from the site.

Proposals include a series of ramps, rails and ledges as well as other space for art groups and other sports, including roller discos. It will also include a cafe, shop and space for socialising.

Councillor Cal Corkery, one of the Charles Dickens ward representatives, said the funding would be a 'major boost' in setting up the skatepark.

'We have been really impressed by the vision for a new inclusive community facility right in the heart of Charles Dickens ward,' he said. 'It's a pleasure to be able to help support the project through use of our ward community funds.'

The project has also been backed by community figures, including campaigner Yinka Adeniran.

'Living in the area I know how important it is for our children and young people to have things to do and places to go which keeps them off the streets,' she said. 'I'm looking forward to working with the Undercover Skatepark team to ensure this project succeeds and becomes a valuable community resource.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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