New skatepark in Marple Memorial Park, Marple

The fantastic newly extended wheeled sports facility in Marple Memorial Park for skateboarders, BMXers, scooter riders and in-line skaters from all around Stockport is now open.

New skatepark in Marple Memorial Park, Marple

The construction of the skatepark was completed and the fences came down just in time for the Easter school holidays. The new facility is already being well used. A “Celebration Jam” was organised by Friends of Marple Memorial Park at the skatepark on Easter Monday.

The Friends of Marple Memorial Park have led the Marple Skatepark Development Project Team from the start, way back in 2011. Through partnership working with the Council's Greenspace Team they have delivered a top class new Skatepark Facility serving the whole of Marple, the surrounding districts and beyond, that is free, accessible and usable by local people of all ages and abilities.

The extension to the existing small but well used older skatepark was carefully designed to cater for a wide range of skill levels and experience and provides challenging routes for those just beginning to skate, to the most experienced of riders. It even includes a ride-able poppy signature feature that acknowledges the park's origins as a War Memorial Park following the end of WWI.

From the conception to completion, the Skatepark Project Team, which includes several mature and experienced skatepark users, has engaged and involved young people from the heart of the community in the design, consultation and tendering process to ensure that they built what local skatepark users wanted. The need to extend and upgrade the old skatepark was first highlighted to Friends of the Park by students from Marple Hall School and the school has also given great support to the project throughout its life, including facilities to meet with students to review designs and help with fund-raising too.

The Skatepark Team has also worked closely with other local organisations, local businesses and local Councillors, who have been hugely supportive of the project since the beginning. There was lots of consultation carried out with park users and at local events as the group reached out to get the wider community involved. A Facebook page and the Friends Group's web site were also used to keep everyone up-to-date with design developments and fund-raising progress.

The Team began fund-raising in late 2012 but experienced set-backs with a number of strategies aimed at raising the £100,000 needed to build the project. In 2015 a £1 for £1 match-funding agreement was reached with Stockport Council for up to £50,000 from commuted sums held for sports development. This was a turning point for the project and fund-raising really took off, with the whole community getting behind them and supporting Friends of the Park and the Project Team to help raise the £50,000 of community funding required. During the late stages of construction the project also received a welcome boost from Life Leisure, who came to the project's aid with a community funding award of £11,750 at short notice to enable them to address maintenance issues developing on the lower section of the existing skatepark.

Friends of the Park are now looking into the possibility of holding an event as part of Marple Carnival to celebrate this fantastic community achievement!

Mark Whittaker, Treasurer for Friends of the Park and leader of the Skatepark Project Team comments: The level of local support for the project has been quite overwhelming and has given us the strength and the will to keep going through the setbacks since we started in 2011. I'd like to thank the council for working so closely with us and Life Leisure for stepping in at such short notice and recognising the project's importance to the local community. But most of all, thank you to all the local people who have responded so well to our efforts – it's the can-do attitude of the Marple Community that has really made this happen.
Councillor Sheila Bailey, Executive Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Everyone involved in this project should be congratulated, it took some time to be completed but the hard work has paid off. The new skatepark is already off to a great start and is a great asset to the local community.”

The skatepark is located in Marple Memorial Park, Memorial Park Drive, off Stockport Road, Marple, SK6 6BA.

For more information visit www.marplememorialpark.org.uk.