Skateparks appeal to a broad cross section of users who appreciate the freedom to practice their chosen sport in a purpose built facility, without the restrictions of more traditional team sports. Increasingly skateparks are seen as integral parts of a local community and the last 10 years have seen an explosion in the number of well-constructed, outdoor concrete facilities across Scotland.
Funding, local community support and finding a suitable location are the 3 key factors when considering skatepark and this document aims to support you through this process. It can take some time for a project to come to fruition so a structured approach is essential in getting your skatepark built
Is there a demand?
- Are there any specifically skate/bmx/rollerblade facilities existing in the area?
- What other facilities for young people have the council provided in the area in the last 5 years?
- Do you have a Primary and secondary school in the local area?
- Are there skaters/bmxers/rollerbladers in your area?
- Bring together a core user group comprising of as broad a spectrum of age and gender as possible
- Engage with existing local community groups
- Is there is a local youth or sports development officer that can get involved? Having a professional onboard in a paid capacity has been the springboard to successful projects in the past
- Hold events in community areas to publicise your campaign. Skate jams in playgrounds or petition signing tables on the high street for example
- Build up messaging through online presence and local media outlets to gather support
- Gather an action group comprising of the user group and other key figures who support the proposal ie: parents, community leaders and local councilors
- Try to involve as wide a cross section of the community and age groups as possible
Engaging the Local Council
- Approach your local council through your action group with evidence of community support
- Engage any local youth or sports development officers (see Community Support section above)
- Ask the council about potential skatepark locations and any available funding opportunities
- Request any information from local school surveys – a skatepark facility is often near the top of the wish list
- Based on size – how much money are you aiming to raise to build the skatepark? This is dictated by available space and budget potential
- How much funding, if any, will be available from the local council?
- Most councils will have an active children charter so tying in a skatepark proposal with the desire for young people to exercise and keep fit is an important step in the funding process
- Other possible funding sources could be:
- Sport Scotland grants
- Big Lottery funding
- Landfill offset grants
- Local community grants
- Private funding
Finding a suitable location
- Is the land usable? Some land cannot be disturbed due to historical, industrial use, or only used at great cost following decontamination
- What are the soil conditions? Soft ground won’t take the weight of concrete and bedrock will be expensive to excavate
- How deep can you dig and how high can you build up? This is crucial to the park design and cost as it’s generally cheaper to dig down than build up. Building up can also require specific planning permission
- What’s options do you have for drainage? Is the ground already waterlogged? Is there a water course nearby? Can the drains be routed into existing drains? This requires consultation with Scottish Water and integration has not always been possible in the past
- Are there trees on the potential site? Mature trees can rarely be removed and any existing tree canopies must not be within the proposed skatepark to avoid leaf build up in Autumn
- Is the site accessible for excavation vehicles? Large vehicles will need to access the area for construction purposes without significant disruption to the surrounding area
- Are there public transport links? This will be essential in the planning process and application to tie in with local council goals for both fitness and environmental impact
- Car parking – expect an uplift in demand so is there space?
- Will there be good visibility into the park from the surrounding area? The park shouldn’t be hidden from view from nearby pavements or roads. This is a factor in the planning process and essential to getting the police on board with the park proposals
- Are there any toilets nearby? Again an important consideration in the planning process
- Are there shops nearby?
- Litter management – what are the current rubbish provisions and how will the skatepark impact litter levels?
- Police support. Having local community policing support is beneficial to the planning process. Any concerns raised by the police should be addressed prior to the planning hearing
- Power supplies. Existing nearby power supplies for lights, CCTV and power points will be significantly cheaper than bringing in power over a longer distance
Design and Construction
- Use your action group to decide what kind of park features you would like to include in the design
- Visit other skateparks across the country to get ideas for your own park
- Don’t try and cram too much into the space, it will make it harder to skate the park when it’s busy
- Work with the council to draw up a shortlist of potential contractors
- Speak to Skateboard Scotland for support and advice
- Contractors with proven skatepark building experience are always preferred and will ideally at least one skater will be on site during the build. Any subcontracted work should be agreed prior to the construction start date
- Work with contractors to draw up the plan professionally. Most skatepark contractors will draw up a design based on your requests and available space as part of the tender process
Build Phase, Opening and Post-opening management
- Ensure that the local user group prevents any use of the skatepark before the official opening date. This can damage the concrete and add extra unnecessary cost to the build
- Plan an opening event with the user group and local council, inviting local press to attend
- Start with monthly post opening meetings with the user group, local residents, council and police
- Reduce frequency of meetings if initial issues are resolved