Norwich skate park to open

Sarah HallA long-awaited national-standard �300,000 skate park will finally open in Norwich this week - to the delight of campaigners who have led a five year fight to get one.Sarah Hall

A long-awaited national-standard �300,000 skate park will finally open in Norwich this week - to the delight of campaigners who have led a five year fight to get one.

The park, which has been purpose built by Norwich City Council to specifications worked out after consultation with the city's skating and BMX riding community, will open in Eaton Park tomorrow .

Work began on the park, which measures about 1,000 square metres, in February 2010 and council bosses hope it will cut the number of skaters whizzing around the city centre.

Steve Morphew, city council leader, said: 'The young people of the city told us they wanted a skate park. It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work but we are now at the point where we can open this national standard facility.

'Norwich's skateboarder, BMX and inline skating communities have been very patient and worked closely with us and we are delighted to be able to reward their patience.'

The council worked closely with the Skatepark Consultation Group, who helped refine the design of the park.

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Sam Avery, who runs Drug Store in Pottergate, is a skateboarder and member of the group. He said: 'Everyone is very eager for the park to be finished. A lot of people have put a lot of work into this and have worked hard for years. This park looks as if it is going to be enormously popular - there is already a lot of interest in it.'

Chris Sturgess, who runs Revolutionz in Lower Goat Lane, said: 'We have been watching the progress of the skate park closely as it has been built, and it looks great. It is difficult to build something that will please everyone but in this case the initial response from people has been overwhelmingly positive.

'We have been working towards this for years, and a lot of people thought it would never happen. But here we are, and it is being opened which is brilliant news for the city.'

The park has been funded by the Homes and Communities Agency as part of an agreement with the city council which will see the HCA invest �8m into Norwich, while the city council provides a number of sites for more than 1,300 homes in the city.

These sites will be jointly developed and any profit generated by the development is planned to be reinvested jointly into more regeneration schemes in the city.

The skate park was originally planned by the Liberal Democrats when they were in power, but when Labour took over at City Hall they said a lack of money in the coffers meant they had to start from scratch in finding the money.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, said: 'The skateboard park will provide a high quality facility for BMX bikers, skateboarders and in-line skaters.

'It will be an important recreational venue for the local community and the city and a means for young people, in particular, to keep healthy while still having fun."

It is hoped a two-day celebration of the park, involving local skaters, will take place later in the summer.

Let us know what you think of the new skate park by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email