Ramp up support for Sidmouth skate park regeneration

Sidmouth Skate Park. Ref shs 2840-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Sidmouth Skate Park. Ref shs 2840-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Manstone Lane site was first for East Devon - but 20 years on, its in need of facelift

Sidmouth Skate Park. Ref shs 2841-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Sidmouth Skate Park. Ref shs 2841-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth’s 20-year-old skate park could be in line for a facelift and expansion thanks to the determined efforts of young people and councillors.

Its installation in 1997 marked the first of its kind for East Devon, but driving forces behind plans to regenerate the Manstone Lane site say it is now in need of updating. They are hoping to ramp up support from the community.

Ideas on the table include the installation of better lighting, a graffiti wall and better use of the space available to improve facilities for young children, as well as older skate park users.

Town council chairman Jeff Turner is leading the committee driving the project. He told the Herald: “Sidmouth was one of the leading areas – in fact it was the first to get a skate park in East Devon. But as a result of that, it now really needs regeneration.

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“We are quite determined to renew it.”

He added that the charity Young Devon is working alongside the town council and is now researching the costs of upgrading the skate park to a similar standard to a new one in Exmouth.

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Cllr Turner said it is hoped community levy funds from developers could go some way towards footing the bill, but match-funding will probably be required.

Town councillor Louise Cole, who is also involved in the plans, said: “As far as I’m concerned it’s an area that was well used and is now less so. It needs updating with better facilities and more lighting.

“It’s about involving young people and nurturing a sense of responsibility in them designing and maintaining it. It’s about young people coming together and being active and having fun in the community.

“It would be a new design and reinvigorated skate park and is about making the space much more useable for different age groups, including younger children, so they also feel included and confident. We are looking at utilising the space that is currently not being used at the far end of the site.”

Town clerk Chris Holland said it was young skate park users who first raised the question of improving the site - which last received improvement work between 2008 and 2010.

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