Pop-up skateparks go down 'better than envisaged' as Portishead edges closer to permanent facility
PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 September 2019
(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved
Hundreds of people took to the ramps at a trio of pop-up skateparks in Portishead in recent weeks, as a project to create a long-awaited permanent facility gathers speed.
Portishead Wheels and Skatepark Group (WASP), in conjunction with Portishead Town Council and skateboarding shop Sk8 Or Die, hosted three two-day events over August and September, with youngsters on two or four wheels enjoying themselves.
Parish Wharf Leisure Centre, Vale Park and the Lake Grounds were all temporarily transformed, as WASP hoped to demonstrate the town's passion for skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes.
The group's efforts were rewarded with more than 500 youngsters taking part.
Ben Aldridge, town councillor and WASP member, told the Times the pop-up events went down 'extremely well' as the initiative drew to a close at the Lake Grounds on Sunday.
He said: "Some children were there who could not skateboard at the first event, but by the final day were able to do everything they wanted to on a half pipe. It proved everything we are trying to achieve.
"The praise and thanks we received was overwhelming. The events were a far better success than we could have envisaged.
"It was a lot of hard work in the background but it was worth every hour we have put into it."
A permanent skatepark has long been called for in Portishead, with a parish poll in 2016 showing overwhelming support for the campaign.
But after securing planning permission from North Somerset Council to build a skatepark at the Lake Grounds, the authority then refused to grant landlord's consent.
But with a much-changed political landscape both in Portishead and across North Somerset since May's local elections, there is renewed hope the town will get its skatepark.
WASP has been conducting a survey in recent weeks to demonstrate to North Somerset the town's desire for a skatepark, with almost 400 people responding so far.
A drop-in session will be held at the Folk Hall, in High Street, on Saturday from 9.30am to noon, where WASP members will be on hand to offer an update on its plans and people can take part in the survey.