New skate ramp in time for Christmas?

Owners Matt Stains and Stuart Walsh with Istar Staines-Singer cutting the ribbon to open Sk8 or Die.

Owners Matt Stains and Stuart Walsh with Istar Staines-Singer cutting the ribbon to open Sk8 or Die. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Two Portishead business owners want to donate a new skate ramp to the town’s youngsters ahead of Christmas.

Stuart Walsh and Matt Stains last month opened Sk8 or Die store in West Hill and are keen to increase children’s access to skating facilities, amid years of frustrations at getting a new park built in Portishead.

Mr Walsh told Portishead Town Council’s recreation and works committee that the pair wanted to donate a 16ft by 28ft ramp.

He said: “We thought it would be an ideal improvement, addition or substitution of one of the ramps at the Merlin Park site, which is right now badly in need of improvement.

“This is just for clarity to find out who would be willing to accept the gift of the skate ramp on behalf of the children, whether it be the town council or North Somerset Council.

“I understand some concerns have arisen over who signs off this.”

Mr Walsh said the ramp comes with a 10-year guarantee and that he and Mr Stains would do whatever was needed to maintain it so it met the right standard for public use.

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The committee welcomed the ‘kind offer’ largely but questions were raised over the ramp’s size and suitability, whether it met the required standards, how it would be anchored and what railings would be needed.

Clerk Jo Duffy said: “Most commercial ramps are boxed in to prevent drink and drugs and fire setting.

“We have had people trying to start fires on the ramps up there.”

Cllr Martyn Cruse advised Mr Walsh and Mr Stains to woo the neighbours over a cup of coffee as there had been some ‘very, very strong opposition’ in the past. He said: “The last thing you want is to have the residents against you.”

Mr Walsh said the ramp had cost £2,700 and would require a further £1,300 in modifications.

He believes it is a good temporary solution while the long-term project of building a wheels park is explored.

He said: “Portishead has had a long-running argument over where to put a skatepark – if one should be put in at all.

It has become very political and the only losers so far are the kids growing up in such as substantial sized town without the suitable play equipment.

“What we are doing is gifting a ramp, not a skatepark, just a ramp that can be used by scooter riders and skateboarders without the neighbouring land having to be modified much if at all as the ramp is integral.”

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