THE new Les Quennevais skate park is ‘just the start of investment in urban sport facilities’, according to a politician.
Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson, who has responsibility for sport and sports facilities, said officers had been ‘working hard’ on the potential for a skate park at South Hill, with principal engineer Oliver Brewster adding that construction could start next year.
Deputy Stephenson also highlighted the £1.25 million allocated in the 2023 Government Plan for investment in skate-park projects over the next three years.
The long-awaited £1.9m St Brelade facility was opened recently to great fanfare, but a skate park at South Hill is yet to materialise.
The original application, which was submitted in March 2021, was withdrawn last year owing to concerns over ‘heritage and ecology issues’.
In June 2022, officers were continuing to work with key stakeholders and contractors to ensure the new plans for the park were more ‘landscape-architecture led’ and integrated with the surrounding area.
Deputy Stephenson said the focus would ‘now turn to undertaking a feasibility study on the potential for a new skate park at South Hill’.
She said: ‘At the time the original work looking at South Hill as a site for a new skate park was undertaken it was based on the delivery of either South Hill or Les Quennevais, not both. Therefore further work has been needed and is still needed to consider the way forward now.
‘Officers have been working hard to consider how a skate park ties in with opportunities to improve and reinvigorate the historic park areas around South Hill.
‘They have also been considering how to improve connectivity between the open, public and green spaces in the area and the benefits of doing so.
‘As part of this work the team have consulted with historic environment and heritage interest groups and discussed how they can work together to benefit the historic assets in the area and deliver a skate park facility.’
The assistant minister also reiterated that a pilot project installing skate-friendly street furniture in Millennium Town Park was being developed.
Mr Brewster said they were in the ‘latter stages’ of further feasibility work on South Hill.
He added: ‘Subject to the outcomes of the feasibility work and any planning application, construction would commence in 2024.’
While skaters in town could soon be provided for, there are currently no satellite plans for facilities in parishes like those in St John.
Mr Brewster clarified that ‘the existing St John’s skatepark is not a government facility and is not on government land’.
He added: ‘We were exploring options in late 2021 to contribute to an enhancement of this facility. However, for reasons relating to operational issues with their existing facility, St John’s Recreation Centre did not wish to take this further.’