Leamington skatepark campaign gets grant backing

Alex Walker Chairman of 'Save Our Skatepark', is working alongside Ripride skate shop in Leamington to raise awareness of the campaign to have a new skate park built in Victoria Park. He is pictured with Samantha Fawke (Accountant) and  Mark Taylor, Chris Swan and Jack Robison (Trustees).'MHLC Skate Park 26-07-14 NNL-140728-104334009

Alex Walker Chairman of 'Save Our Skatepark', is working alongside Ripride skate shop in Leamington to raise awareness of the campaign to have a new skate park built in Victoria Park. He is pictured with Samantha Fawke (Accountant) and Mark Taylor, Chris Swan and Jack Robison (Trustees).'MHLC Skate Park 26-07-14 NNL-140728-104334009

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Years of campaigning have finally paid off for a group who want a new skatepark built in Leamington’s Victoria Park.

The Save our Skatepark group has secured £110,000 in grant money made up of £60,000 from the SITA Trust and £50,000 from Warwick District Council.

The new facility, for which plans are yet to be finalised, could be opened in April next year and Alex Walker, who has lead the campaign for more than four years, is delighted.

He said: “It has, at times, been a slog but we managed to get some positive bids out in between work, school, uni, volunteering and skateboarding.

“It is so important that we can provide what is a cultural, artistic and active hub in a central location in Leamington for people of all ages.

“We honestly could not be happier and we are really looking forward to planning the opening day at the facility.”

The campaign was launched in 2011 after the old skate ramp at Victoria Park was removed.

Ripride Skateshop in Gloucester Street has been a big supporter and held a Skate Jam event at the skatepark in Kenilworth in August 2014.

The old ramp, which had been in place for about 15 years, was used by up to 30 skaters, BMX riders and micro scooter riders a day at its busiest times but the council was forced to remove it after rain corrosion had rendered it unsafe.

Mr Walker had said the 5ft half-pipe was part of Leamington’s ‘skateboarding heritage’ which dates back more than 20 years.

District councillor David Shilton, portfolio holder for neighbourhood services, said: “We are really happy and pleased that Save our Skate Park has been awarded a grant by the Sita Trust, together with a contribution from us - meaning this project now has the go ahead. We are looking forward to having the best skate facility in the district.”

Mr Walker has thanked fellow SoS members Samantha Fawke, Ade Cottrell, Mark Taylor, Jack Robison, James Walker, Alex Darby, Matt Lewis and Chris Swan and council officer Simon Richardson.

Anybody who is willing to provide services for the opening event can contact saveourskatepark@gmail.com