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Delight as Sherborne skatepark plan gets go-ahead

By Western Gazette - Sherborne  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

FUNDRAISING TARGET: John Smithee, president elect of the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles, hands over a cheque for £5,000 to Harry Fisher, a skateboarder and committee member of the Sherborne Skate Group. Inset, an artist's impression of the skate park set to be built at Blackberry Lane.

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SKATEBOARDERS in Sherborne are celebrating after plans to create a new park were approved.

West Dorset District Council has approved the plans to build a new skate park on the footprint of the outdated one currently at Blackberry Lane.

The Sherborne Skate Group – made up of skaters, cyclists, their parents, and neighbours around the site – raised £187,000 during two years of fundraising.

Their most recent donation came last month when the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles handed over a cheque for £5,000.

Work can now begin to replace the outdated and deteriorating ramps.

Michael Graves, chairman of Sherborne Skate Group, thanked the Rotary club and other donors.

He said: "We will continue fundraising as we would like the skateboard park and surrounding adventure park to be suitably landscaped so that in years to come the whole area will be a venue the town can be proud of.

"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. 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."

Other donations to the cause came from the town council, Viridor Credits Environmental Company and Sport England's Inspired Facilities Fund.

The new equipment will consist of reinforced concrete and replace the current metal and timber frames that generate a lot of noise and require considerable maintenance.

The town council's design and access statement in the plans said it hopes the facility will help with social development skills, reduce accidents on roads and paths, and save police time by reducing antisocial behaviour.

It said the popularity of BMX biking, skateboarding and similar sports has boomed since the Olympics and the skatepark will help to increase the revenue of local businesses.

The group will meet at the park on Thursday, February 14, to officially celebrate the start of construction work.

It hopes work to be completed by the summer with an official opening ceremony.

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