Norwich Skate Park to be funded from HCA agreement

It is intended to accommodate skating demonstrations and events with the capability to host national-level events and will give skate boarders, BMXers and inline skaters a chance to improve their skills – reducing the impact of informal skating in the city centre.

Leader of the council Steve Morphew said: “The people of the city have told us that they want us to do more for young people and the skate boarders, inline skaters and BMXers have been very patient in the way they have worked with us.

“We made a promise to them that we would make the skate park top priority as soon as we had funding for the war memorial, and now we can honour this promise.
“Now we have funding for a national-class facility which will be great for young people around the city.”

The council worked closely with the Skatepark Consultation Group, who helped refine the design of the park so it can meet the needs of various disciplines.

Chris Sturgess, who runs Revolutionz in Lower Goat Lane, is a founder member of the group. He said: “This is great news – it has taken seven years of hard work from a lot of people to get to this point and there have been a couple of false starts, but now it looks as if this time next year we may have a national-standard park.
“The sports development team at the council have worked very closely with us to make this happen and I would like to thank them.”

And Sam Avery, of Drift Skate Shop in Pottergate, also welcomed the news. He said: “I drive to Essex or North London every weekend to skate, and so do a lot of people I know. It will be great to have a park of this standard right on the doorstep, especially for those 14 or 15-year-olds who have not been able to travel to get to better facilities.”

The plans for the skate park are still subject to planning permission and some approvals are needed, but if all necessary permission is given the park is expected to open for use in early summer next year.

An agreement between the council and the HCA was formally signed in September following several months of negotiation. Under the partnership, the HCA will invest £8 million into Norwich and the city council will invest a number of sites for new homes around the city.

The sites will be jointly developed and the surplus which comes out of these will be reinvested jointly into more regeneration schemes in the city. More than 1300 new homes and hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created over a 12-year period.

Terry Fuller, regional director for the HCA, said:  “The partnership agreement between the HCA and Norwich City Council will enable a number of exciting regeneration projects to happen around the city. Together, we have re imagined the way we are delivering community benefits. I am sure that the new skate park will be welcomed by the people of Norwich and provide an important facility to be enjoyed by the community.”

Of the £8 million, £5 million capital will be used to deliver strategic regeneration projects. Other projects to be funded include the £2.6 million refurbishment of the Memorial Gardens, 250,000 for completion of youth venue Open 24/7, the £75,000 completion of the St John’s Cathedral visitor centre and a £1.75 million eco-retrofit of around 800 council properties.

The rest of the money breaks down into £500,000 to cover programme and project management costs – allowing accelerated delivery of the regeneration projects and development of small housing sites – and £2.5 million to kick start development at Bowthorpe Three Score, one of the sites allocated for development as part of the agreement.

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