Bradley Stoke Journal editor Stephen Horton was pleased to be invited to meet up with Graham Baker, Bradley Stoke Town Council’s youth participation worker, to view progress on the new skate park being constructed in the grounds of Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre. We were joined by James, Ash, Tom and Josh, just four of a group of around a dozen local young people who have been closely involved with the skate park project since its conception almost three years ago.
In the early stages of the project, young people from Bradley Stoke visited around ten skate parks across the south of England, gathering ideas and collecting feedback from users. This work involved trips to Oxford, Newbury and Winchester, as well as sites nearer to home such as Thornbury and Midsomer Norton.
One thing the team learnt from their fact finding is that “less is sometimes more” and it is often best to leave the professional designers to work to broad criteria rather than giving them a ‘wish list’ of features.
The young people were then involved in drawing up the ‘invitation to tender’ document for the new Bradley Stoke skate park, and in the subsequent work of assessing the bids that came in from skate park construction companies.
Since work on the new skate park started in early January, Graham and the young people have been visiting the site two or three times a week to monitor progress (photo, above) and a photographic record has been maintained on the ‘Bradley Stoke Skatepark’ Facebook page.
Graham says the amount of work the young people have put into the project is “amazing”.
The old skate park at the leisure centre site has been dismantled and taken away by a community group from Pilning, who plan to reinstall it in their own neighbourhood. The space vacated by the removal of the old skate park was originally planned to be used for car parking, to compensate for spaces lost in the leisure centre’s overflow car park during the construction of the new skate park, but has in fact been requisitioned for use as a site compound for the centre’s own redevelopment project, which is now under way.
The young people we spoke to are clearly very proud of their emerging new skate park and they are confident that, once finished, it will be the “best in Bristol”. Consequently, they expect it will attract riders from neighbouring areas such as Filton and Horfield, in addition to large numbers from Bradley Stoke.
Graham says that work on the new park has gone exceedingly well and it is anticipated that it could be in use as early as mid-March, subject to a safety sign-off by RoSPA.
A converted shipping container, which is to be sited at the park to create a social space for use when a youth worker is present, is expected to arrive later in March.
The town council is planning to stage an opening event in April, once the container is in place and the new landscaping around the park has had a chance to settle. This will be attended by pro-riders who will demonstrate how to use all the exciting features in the new park.
This will be followed in early June by a big competition staged as part of the town’s annual Community Festival.
More info: Visualisations of the new skate park (BSTC website)
Photos: 1 Youth participation worker Graham Baker (third from left) and local young people inspect progress. 2 Work in progress on the ‘street’ section of the park.
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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