Bideford’s new Skate Park was officially opened at the weekend with an afternoon event attended by hundreds of people that included music, competitions, professional demos and prizes.
The park was made possible thanks to £125K grant funding from Torridge District Council, £50K from Sport England, £10K from Grantscape, £13K from the Bridge Trust and £6K from Bideford Town Council. Sited on the redundant tennis courts on Bideford sports ground the design and build was undertaken by nationally renowned Canvas Spaces Ltd.
The facility was designed with guidance from a local steering group so as to allow users of all ages and abilities the chance to utilise the area to their full potential in a safe environment, all at the same time. The day saw Skateboarders, BMX Bikers, Scooter riders and Inline Skaters all showing off their talents on the same multi-use circuit.
Landscaping and seating along with other ancillary facilities were used to create a desirable area in which to congregate. The intention for the area to become a “destination facility” was already on show with families and friends gathering together in the sunshine to share the day and enjoy the picnics many had brought to the event.
To set the facility apart from the traditional “skate park” and with a nod to its surroundings, the park has incorporated a Bideford Bridge themed grind ledge with blue coloured concrete running through it representing the Torridge River.
Councillor David Brenton – Chair of Torridge District Council 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. 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.
Fast forward to 2019 and the Councils forward-thinking has now seen the establishment of a bespoke Skate Park for all ages and skill levels 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.”
Project Manager; Health and Recreation Officer, James Jarroudi said:
“Getting to this stage has been a long, tricky but highly enjoyable journey. Working closely with the steering group and local organisations has been vital in determining the right location and correct design for what users wanted from such a facility. I know only too well just how many of them have hoped to have a facility like this delivered locally and have in the past travelled considerable distances in order to enjoy using something similar. A great deal of thought and expertise has been harnessed in order to produce such a brilliant design for the Park and to have so many people attend the opening event has been fantastic.”