Bideford’s new skate park is officially open
- Credit: Graham Hobbs
Bideford’s new ‘destination’ skate park has been officially opened.
The concrete 'wheels park' in Kingsley Road had its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, with Torridge District Council chairman David Brenton and Bideford mayor Peter Christie doing the honours.
The opening jam saw hundreds of people take to the new facilities, with prizes for those with the best skills.
The new plaza-style park was built over 12 weeks by Canvas Spaces Ltd on a redundant tennis court outside the Sports Ground and replaces the old facility at Bank End.
Councillor Brenton, said: "In the 1990s skateboarding attracted quite a lot of negative press as town centres were overrun with anti social behaviour often associated with this activity.
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"But in 1996 a youth forum I helped establish in Torridge determined that what the children really wanted was a designated park where they could practice and hone their skills and meet like-minded friends.
"At the time many councillors thought the sport was just a passing fad although ramps were quickly sited in Bideford to provide some of the facilities people were calling for.
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"Fast forward to 2019 and the council's forward thinking has now seen the establishment of a bespoke park for all ages and levels of skill to enjoy.
"Not only is skateboarding now an Olympic sport but its popularity amongst the young is still growing.
"The opening event on Saturday was something I was really proud to be part of along with Councillor Peter Christie in his role as Mayor of Bideford.
"Young and old alike managed to navigate the fantastic new facility weaving in and out and demonstrating some amazing skills.
"I wanted to thank TDC officers that worked so hard on the project and in particular our health and recreation officer James Jarroudi who was pivotal in its delivery."
With guidance from a local steering group the facility has been conceived in a way that allows users of all ages and abilities the chance to utilise the area to their full potential in a safe environment.
It was possible after councillors agreed to allocate £50,000 towards the new park, and TDC secured £150,000 external funding.
The park incorporates a Bideford bridge-themed grind rail with blue coloured concrete running through it representing the River Torridge.