WORK to build a new skatepark in Sherborne is set to go ahead now the fundraising group has raised £187,000 for the project.
The Sherborne Skate Group – made up of skaters, cyclists, their parents, and neighbours of the Blackberry Lane site – reached their target after more than two years of fundraising.
Sherborne Town Council, which owns the site, has now requested planning permission for the new skatepark.
It will replace the outdated and deteriorating ramps currently at the site.
The target was raised with the help of large donations from Viridor and Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund, as well as local fundraising and donations from Sherborne Rotary Club and the town council.
Michael Graves, chairman of the skate group committee, said work on the new park could begin in February.
He said: “It is fantastic that the users in the group have managed to achieve so much local support from individuals, organisations and businesses in the town.
“It is the only free sporting facility in the town and it’s a great place for young people to gather and socialise and learn new skills.
“It gives them something to do. Being involved in the project has given them a sense of ownership and we’re no longer seeing much of the problems we had there before with vandalism.”
The proposed new equipment consists of reinforced concrete, which will replace the current metal and timber frames that generate a lot of noise and require a lot of maintenance.
The design and access statement in the plans submitted by the town council said the multi-wheeled sports facility will help with social development skills, help to reduce accidents on roads and paths, and save police time with a reduction in antisocial behaviour.
It also said the popularity of BMX biking, skateboarding and other similar sports have boomed since the Olympics and the skatepark will help to increase the revenue of local businesses.
Mr Graves said: “We are just replacing what is already there with a much better and quieter facility.
“People interested in these sports go all around the country visiting the different sites.
“I think it will really bring people into the town as people will want to try it out.
“It has been developed with the aim of producing an exciting facility that will cater for the full range of users, while taking full regard of the need to reduce any potential noise effects and enhancing the visual impact of the site.”
The group and town council ran a competition to choose their design and build contractor, and 1skateparks, of Salisbury, has been selected.
An opportunity for the public to view the plans and speak to designers is being offered on Thursday, December 20, between 6pm and 7.30pm, at the Manor House, Newland, Sherborne.