Breaking Ground For New Skatepark Should Only be Weeks Away

Everything is in place for the construction of the new Henley Skatepark to hopefully begin in the very near future.

The Henley Skatepark Initiative (HSI) are working with Henley Town Council (HTC) to get everything in place. The construction contract is being reviewed as we write and a construction consultant is going to be appointed to oversee the build. HTC are also exploring the possibility of installing CCTV at the site.

Chair of HSI, Colin Brathwaite said, “As with any large scale project, there are a number of things that we need to finalise. Every detail needs to be discussed and agreed upon. We have had Recreation & Amenities approval for our landscaping plan, which will involve the planting of semi-mature Silver Birch Trees in the area of the recreation ground between the new skatepark and the hedge that borders Greys Road. We have selected one particular type of Silver Birch, (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii), which are almost as white as snow and gleam almost as brightly, far brighter than the normal Silver Birch, and with stunning orange autumnal colouring. The choice of tree is also particularly good at absorbing air pollution, so environmentally it is the right choice.  We have also had Council approval for our path layout around the skatepark, and the choice and placing of bins and benches.”

Final Council approval to start the build will be on the agenda for the next Full Council meeting on 14 February 2017.  If approved, the first spade in the ground will be as soon as possible following this meeting.

The design has evolved from our initial concept design. Colin commented “We’re extremely pleased with the result, and feel that the design evolution provides something for all abilities and disciplines.  As with any skatepark project, we commissioned soil contamination, drainage and stability/subsidence tests, as well as a levels survey. The test results all came back positive. The levels survey highlighted the exact sloping nature of the site to our supplier, which led to the repositioning of features within the skatepark in order to keep soil excavation to a minimum. We were required to get planning approval for our design changes. SODC approved these as a non-material amendment due to the fact that our changes remained within the footprint of the original design. A new planning application was not required.”

Colin, added “We have complete confidence in our chosen Supplier Maverick Industries in providing us with a very well constructed world-class Olympic level skatepark. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to  HTC’s staff for their hard work and cooperation, particularly Janet Wheeler the Town Clerk and Becky Walker the Council Administrator.

The Thamesfield Youth Association, the charity that ran the Henley Youth Centre, have donated £20,000 towards the project. This makes up part of the £275,800 that was raised for the project. Colin said, “We would like to offer huge thanks to the TYA Trustees for supporting this project. The TYA have a long history of supporting youth development, which mirrors the aims and objectives of the HSI.”

Liz Hodgkin, TYA Trustree said ‘After all these years it is wonderful to think that this time next year there will be an up to date, state of the art, skatepark.  Congratulations to all those involved who have never stopped dreaming that it would happen.  I am full of admiration for their tenacity.  This is going to be a wonderful facility for the young of Henley and Thamesfield Youth Association is delighted that they have been able to be part of it.

Even though HSI will be proceeding with construction, they still need to raise £15,000 towards the project, which they have been loaned by a local person so that construction can begin. Therefore they still require donations. To donate, either get in touch with HTC on 01491 576982 or contact us via social media or email us on info@henleyskatepark.org.

Colin concluded by saying, “With every successful project of this nature, achievement depends on a community of persons working together. This has been a mammoth journey. We can now see the finish line thanks to a Hercluean effort by our volunteers. It just serves to show that anything is possible in life with vision, hard work, determination and a rock solid belief in what you are trying to do. This will be a fabulous facility that will serve many people or decades to come.”

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