Battle for skatepark in Portishead almost over as council agrees lease for Lake Grounds site
PUBLISHED: 12:07 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:36 14 January 2020
A decade-long battle to build a skatepark in Portishead is nearly over.
North Somerset Council has agreed for a lease to be funded by Portishead Wheels and Skatepark (WASP) for a facility at the Lake Grounds.
The space has long been considered the perfect location by people keen to see a skatepark built in Portishead, but efforts have been frustrated for years.
Planning permission was granted for a skatepark, which would be used by BMX and skateboard riders, at the Lake Grounds in 2011.
But the council's then-administration refused to give landlord's consent - with one senior figure saying the area was Portishead's 'jewel in the crown' and ought to be protected.
A shift in power since last May's election has seen the council's stance change.
At the authority's executive meeting on January 7, Portishead East councillor Caritas Charles praised those who were 'still fighting for the skatepark'.
He said: "This is much more than a skatepark - this is a symbol we are a council that will listen to people.
"This is one of the reasons why I'm sitting in this chair today. It led to a bit of a political revolution in my town.
"I'd like to give credit to the young people in the town, who aren't young anymore, and some have children of their own, who are still fighting for this skatepark."
Executive members agreed for a 25-year lease to be granted to WASP.
In a survey conducted by the group on where the public wanted a skatepark to be built, the Lake Grounds got 40 per cent of the vote, and Pill Park 27 per cent.
Ben Aldridge, town councillor and member of the WASP committee, said: "This is so important for the people of Portishead and has been needed for many years.
"The results of the election presented an opportunity to re-engage in a meaningful way.
"We've had tremendous support from our town and district councillors, a level of support we've never received in the past.
"Our goal is to have the skatepark fully funded and built by mid-2021."
WASP can apply for grant funding and will also have to reapply for planning permission, as the original permission has expired.