Vale Park’s refurbished skatepark, which was officially opened yesterday, is already attracting new faces from as far away as Oxford and St Albans.
The new £150,000 course aims to cater for a wider range of abilities and attract new skaters and bikers to the park.
Angela Macpherson, Aylesbury Vale District Council’s cabinet member for leisure, communities and civic amenities, said: “This is an exciting new development and it is sure to be a hit with young people on BMXs and skateboards.”
Cameron Barrett represented the views of skatepark community to the council. The 21 year old, who has been using the skatepark for ten years, said: “Before the refurbishment it was very dark and didn’t cater to a full range of abilities. We wanted to open it up to include more people, and allow them to build their skills for the future.
“It’s great to see so many younger kids down here today – hopefully they’ll be us in ten years time!”
The new park was constructed with in-situ sprayed concrete, which provides a better riding surface and has lower maintenance costs. The features, including a stair set with handrail, grind wall and boxes, tombstone jump ramp and a wally bar, have been designed to accommodate skate-boarders, BMXers, in-line skaters and scooters.
Cameron, who lives in Watermead and works for Bucks County Council’s commercial team, described the sport as a ‘positive outlet’ for young people.
“It’s already made a big difference. There’s been lots of new faces. From the few weeks it’s been open, we’ve had people from all over – Hertfordshire, St Albans, Oxford – it’s the busiest I’ve ever seen it.“
He praised the work of everyone involved, especially Joe Houston, senior officer for community spaces for the district council.
“They’re really pushed it and been really welcoming of our feedback.
“It’s not always easy trying to find a solution that works with what everyone wants.”
However, Deborah Chew, whose son Lourie is a regular user of the park, raised concerns about certain features.
“Speaking as a parent, there’s nowhere for us to sit or for people using the park to put their stuff, and they haven’t put lights on it. Some people don’t want it being used after dark, but it takes them away from the streets and car parks. The skate park is purpose built, it should have lights and be able to be used.”
But she was positive about the refurbishment overall. “It was dead down here, people were bored stupid. Now they love the park and the vibe its got.”
Jenny Bloom, chairman for Aylesbury Vale District Council, who cut the ribbon on the skate park said: “It’s great to get young people together like this. It’s their thing - this is what they want.”