Report by Tracey Fowler
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
AN indoor skate park could be open in Portishead before the end of year.
Two local businessmen have secured a redundant warehouse in Old Mill Road to bring skaters, BMX and scooter riders the facility they are crying out for. Currently, hundreds of skaters from Portishead travel into Bristol and further afield to enjoy their hobby.
Jason Harvey and Neil Delaney, who plan to invest more than £30,000 in the project, will submit a planning application to change a unit in Old Mill Road to an indoor wheels park.
If given the green light, the warehouse will be transformed and quarter pipes, half pipes and a foam pit for skaters to practice intricate moves, will be installed. There will also be a shop, café and viewing area.
The centre would be open from 3.30-10pm Monday to Friday, all day at weekends and during school holidays. Workshops, including graffiti art, professional guest spots and DJ sessions, are also on the cards.
Both men have children aged 13 or under and so see firsthand the need to provide more facilities for Portishead’s young people.
Mr Harvey said: “A year-round skate park will meet the needs of a vast number of these young people who have tried to do something about the lack of facilities themselves but have been stopped by red tape. It’s time someone stepped in and gave them a helping hand and we feel that is what we are doing.”
Mr Delaney added: “We will do everything we can to keep prices down to make it cost-effective for the young users. We will also arrange different sessions so that younger children can use the facility separately sometimes.”
Portishead Skatepark Project (PSP) has been campaigning for a free outdoor skate park to be built in the town for more than five years and the only two sites they identified as meeting the criteria for a skate park have been ruled out by North Somerset Council. The failure to come up with a solution has prompted people to look at the potential for a commercial skate park.
Earlier this year, businesswoman and mum Jayne Leaker announced her own plans to open an indoor skate park. She said: “Great minds think alike. I desperately wanted to do what Jason and Neil are doing. They have ‘pipped’ me to it but there are no bad feelings.”
Peter Burden, chairman of Portishead Town Council’s wheels park committee, says he would welcome a meeting to hear more about the plans.
A spokesman for PSP, however, said they would be unlikely to support a commercial skate park and are now concerned councillors will see this skate park as a way of absolving the council of its promise to provide a second larger outdoor facility.