Skate park opening marks young people’s achievement

Young people who led the project over the last three years – Photo: West Suffolk Council

A three year project led by young people in Newmarket to create a new skate park for the town has reached completion.

Lighting and security cameras have been installed at the newly opened facility on George Lambton Playing Fields which marks the end of the project’s final phase.

The project to replace an end-of-life collection of steel and timber structures was initiated in 2017 and young people from Newmarket Academy began fundraising the following year.

They developed the bespoke design with their preferred contractor, Gravity Engineering Ltd, who completed the free flowing all-in-one concrete space with a new bowl feature at the end of August.

The cost of this first phase was £192,000 met by contributions from West Suffolk Council, Orbit Housing, Anglian Water and Godolphin.

The second phase, including new and upgraded lighting, security cameras and bins is now complete and will allow year round use as well as improving a key section of the Yellow Brick Road pedestrian and cycle link between residential areas and the town centre.

This phase cost £43,000 and was met by contributions including £5,000 from Newmarket Town Council, Suffolk County Council locality budget funding of £6,747 from Cllr Hood and £5,000 from Cllr Drummond, and £6,555 locality budget funding in total from the six West Suffolk ward councillors Anderson, Drummond, Hood, Lay, Nobbs and Soons. The balance was met by West Suffolk Council capital renewal funding.

Skatepark funders and supporters (left to right): Penny Taylor, Godolphin; Lisa Collins, Newmarket Academy; Rachel Darville, Police; Damien Parker, West Suffolk Council; Alison Hayes, Newmarket Journal; Fiona Butcher, Orbit Housing

Cllr Robert Everitt, West Suffolk Cabinet member for Communities, said:
I congratulate these tenacious young people not only achieving their own ambitions but for regenerating this area for the wider community. Being physically active cannot be under estimated in current circumstances, and the additional lighting and security will, I hope, also encourage more people to walk or cycle into town.

“This is a big step forward in delivering what local people tell us they want and a shining example of how we can all work together to achieve ambitions that may not be possible as single organisations.”

Nick Froy, Principal of Newmarket Academy said: “I am delighted that the students are enjoying the fruits of their years’ of effort. They have worked incredibly hard with the support of the Orbit housing group, Anglian Water, Godolphin, and the town, district and county councils to make this plan come to life and in so doing contribute to the improvement of our town and provide our young people with a skatepark. I am so proud of their vision, commitment and resilience.”

Fiona Butcher, Place-making and Partnership Manager of Orbit Housing, said: “One of the most rewarding things about this project is that it has been the pupils who have driven its success from the start after they first approached Orbit with their ideas and requested funding for a new skate park because the old one was unfit for purpose.

“Since then, it has been a real collaborative approach and shows what a thriving community can achieve when it works together. I am so pleased that the skate park has been completed. Well done to all those involved, especially Newmarket’s young people who have shown drive, determination and teamwork throughout this process, it has been an absolute pleasure working with them.”

Town, district and county councillors Andy Drummond and Rachel Hood, said: “These laudable young people have tackled a monumental task over the last three years, thanks in part to being able to share their vision and commitment with local community leaders and groups.

“We have followed progress from the outset and are delighted to use our backing and locality budgets to such positive ends. This project benefits a much wider community than skatepark users and we hope they receive the recognition deserved.”

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