Skaters to give their park a new lease of life

YOUNG people could be given more than £100,000 to transform an ageing skate park.

Kettering Council has managed to secure £60,000 of developer contribution money to inject into a refurbishment plan for the Ise Skate Park in the town.

It has also applied to the Landfill Communities Fund, a scheme which benefits areas close to landfill sites, for £70,000.

If the bid is successful, it will mean the council has £130,000 to spend and will then leave the redevelopment project to a group of about 10 skaters who will design the new park.

In February, Kettering Council’s executive committee voted to keep the ageing Ise Skate Park open after its dilapidated state raised questions over its future.

Matt Clarke, 22, of Kettering, who is part of the group, said: “It’s exciting times at the park and if we manage to get the funding then that will be amazing.

“It’s still at an early stage but in the coming months hopefully we will be able to get some designs down.

“It’s all we are talking about at the moment.

“I went down there yesterday and much of the talk was what the park could look like in the future.

“It’s a very well used skate park in the town.”

When it was built in 2002, the park cost £30,000 and a further £50,000 was pumped into the area for noise reduction work two years later.

It attracts up to 100 people a day, and is a place for people to not only skate, but ride BMXs and scooters.

At the February meeting, members of the executive committee said they had £30,000 of section 106 developer money which had to be spent by July, but have since found double that amount.

The council also considered whether to move the park to a different part of the town, but opted against this as it could have taken 18 months for any new works to be completed.

The police acknowledged that the skate park gives young people a legitimate place to skate away from the town centre and socialise in a safe environment.

In a door-to-door consultation of 119 nearby households, eight out of 10 people said the council should repair or replace the ramps and nine out of 10 people said it should improve facilities for young people.

Dave Lane from community services at Kettering Council is overseeing the project from the council’s side, and is looking forward to seeing the new skate park take shape.

He said: “If we manage to secure the funding, hopefully that will be an amount that does the park justice as it is a popular attraction in Kettering.

“It’s an exciting time.

“The council has decided that they want to keep the park at Ise and when the new redesign is finished it is going to look great.

“The revamp project is being driven by the users of the park, we are just the organisation that views the plan at the end and tries to find funding for it.

“I’m hoping we get good news when we hear back about our funding application.

“We are looking to submit that application this week.”

The council expects to hear back from the Landfill Communities Fund in about two or three months’ time.