Excitement Building for New Kingsbridge Skatepark

South Hams District Council, Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group and Kingsbridge Town Council are delighted to confirm the good news.

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Kingsbridge residents earlier this year, a Crowdfunder scheme raising money for the new park raised more than £38,000 in just a couple of months.

Sport England offered funding of £100,000 after the massive level of local support caught their attention.

This funding boost from Sport England has been a huge boost for the project, meaning the build can begin - and it is likely to be completed before the end of this year. This puts the project well ahead of the first target of spring next year, which was already an ambitious date.

Further funding has been provided by Kingsbridge Town Council (£50,000) South Hams District Council (£30,000) along with Section 106 Developer's Funding (£25,000), The Gibbons Trust (£5,000) and The Norman Family Trust (£5,000).

Philip Cole, Chairman of Kingsbridge Town Council said: "A new skatepark for the town has been our primary objective, with the support of large swathes of the local community.

"We reflected this with our contribution of £50,000 towards this project. Kingsbridge has a chequered history of skateboarding in the town, and we are delighted that finally the young people of Kingsbridge will get the skatepark they have long deserved."

Cllr Victor Abbott, South Hams Executive Member for Community Services and Leisure, said: "We have been impressed with the level of support shown by the local community, and in particular Adam Sherring of the Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group, who has done his town proud.

"The need for this facility is clear and has been shown in the fantastic support and generosity of the community. The contribution from Sport England has been the icing on the cake and we are thrilled that this has meant we can deliver the new skatepark in good time."

Adam Sherring, of the Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group, said: "The success of this project is down to the amazing support it's had from our residents, businesses and local councils.

"It's no mean feat raising that level of money, especially so during a cost of living crisis, but it goes to show how much we all value the physical and mental health of our community. Kingsbridge will now have a wheeled sports facility they can be proud of!"

Some residents have raised concerns about the suggested loss of nine trees above the skatepark site in the first landscaping scheme, which was intended to reduce branches, leaves and debris falling from the trees overhanging the skatepark area.

Following a review prompted by the Leader of the Council, officers, partners and District Councillors have reached a compromise; of the nine trees first suggested for removal, four will be kept (three elm trees and an oak). A method of pruning called 'pollarding' will now be used as a means of caring for the elms in a sustainable way.

The District Council has promised the five trees being removed will be replaced with at least 22 large trees. They will all be planted in locations near the skatepark this winter. This includes on the bank above the skatepark, which will adding to the quayside Kingsbridge Tree Trail and the green spaces, south of the leisure centre.

Cllr Abbott added: "While we appreciate that the loss of any trees will still be of concern to some, we hope that it shows that we have listened and reduced tree loss as far as possible. At the same time, we are delivering a facility that will have a huge positive impact on young people in Kingsbridge and beyond."

The community has also made suggestions on how to make proposed additional planting under the new trees appear more natural on the nearby bank. These recommendations will guide District Council staff on what planting takes place.

Kingsbridge Skatepark Community Group have also been developing ideas for additional planting with Tash and Barney Green of Heron Valley, and with Gary Jolliffe at Force4Nature, more details about further planting schemes will be made available once they are agreed.

The skatepark scheme was also redesigned to make sure it would not impact on the public right of way behind the skatepark site.

The construction of the project will be carried out by Wheelscape, an experienced skatepark construction design and build company. They have been working with the skating community over the past year to design a skatepark that the local community really wants.

Wheelscape are working closely with the District Council to keep disruption to a minimum on the Quayside car park and slipway access.

Elliot Hamilton, project manager at Wheelscape said: "We are beyond excited to be delivering this skatepark for Kingsbridge.

"Through continued collaboration and numerous design revisions, we have helped the community realise their vision for a welcoming facility; one that will attract beginners but also challenge experienced skaters and riders.

"The new skatepark is a vital resource for the young people of Kingsbridge as they look to build a shared commitment to healthy activity. It's also a unique attraction for visitors to the town.

"The efforts of everyone involved have been tireless and show what can be achieved by pulling together. We're proud to be a part of this and hope it serves as a blueprint for future projects in the area."