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Good news and bad for skaters

PUBLISHED: 20:57 26 May 2004 | UPDATED: 04:54 02 March 2010

SKATEBOARDERS in Felixstowe were today given good news and bad - with the end result being a delay in their hopes for a skatepark.

The good news is that leisure chiefs have given their backing to a design by the youngsters who want the skatepark, but the bad news is that the project will now cost twice as much as planned and more money will have to be raised.

SKATEBOARDERS in Felixstowe were today given good news and bad - with the end result being a delay in their hopes for a skatepark.

The good news is that leisure chiefs have given their backing to a design by the youngsters who want the skatepark, but the bad news is that the project will now cost twice as much as planned and more money will have to be raised.

Youngsters, who have been campaigning for 18 years for a purpose-built park for skateboarders, BMX riders and now in-line skaters, too, were unhappy at draft designs for the scheme.

Around £70,000 had been pledged by local authorities and organisations.

But after a special day to find out youngsters' views, council officers invited teenagers to form a group to help them with the project.

The group wanted a skatepark different Ipswich's - so youngsters could enjoy both - and have designed one based on a "street scene" with less ramps.

Councillor Doreen Savage, a representative on the liaison group working with the town's high schools, said: "It is an excellent design and they have worked very hard on it.

"It will though cost around twice as much as the original scheme put forward. That means we are now short of quite a lot of money and it will not be built as quickly as we had hoped it would be. It will still be built though."

Youngsters at the liaison group had accepted the delay if it meant they would get a better facility and one which would meet needs of skaters in the town.

The delay needed to raise the extra £50,000 to £70,000, will provide longer for discussions with residents, to gain planning permission, and solve other issues.

Consultation is taking place with residents over the potential site - between the Safeway petrol station and Chelsworth Road - which is felt to be far enough from homes to be acceptable on noise grounds.

Suffolk Coastal leisure officers are investigating possible extra finance from the Living Spaces Fund and one option might be to build the project in two phases.

The district council has said all along that it is not intending to provide a facility the same as Ipswich's £170,000 park and it needed to be a complimentary facility, and one appropriate to the community it would serve.

The resort is nowhere need the same size and does not have the hinterland from which enthusiasts will travel, and officers have felt that some of the youngsters' hopes have been unrealistic.

The council was also looking to spend £30,000 on a mobile skatepark, primarily for villages and smaller urban areas but which could sometimes be used in Felixstowe alongside the new one.

Where should Felixstowe's skatepark be - and what should it contain? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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