Plans for a new skate park in Newmarket gain momentum as students win councillors backing
A group of Newmarket Academy students have won councillors’ backing for their plan for a new skate park for the town.
Thirteen-year-old Dan Beynon, Leon Treharne and Ethan Eagling, together with 12-year-old Megan Conti-Lamont were at Monday’s meeting of Newmarket Town Council when they outlined their proposals to replace the current park on George Lambton playing fields which Forest Heath Councilhad to close because of vandalism and on-going maintenance issues.
Last October, a public meeting was held to discuss the future of the facility which was attended by young people, adult skate park users and parents.
Will Wright, building community capacity officer with West Suffolk Council, who has been working with the students on the project, said: “They were interested in developing a project for a new skate park and Nick Froy, head of Newmarket Academy,said they could take it on as an enrichment project at school to give them experience of project management, presentation and data collection.”
On Monday, academy teacher, Lisa Collins, introduced the students to councillors and explained they had done their own survey of the town’s 11-16 year oldsand had had some 400 responses. They had also done a presentation to Orbit Housing and Anglian Water to get support for the project and visited a skate park in Saffron Walden to see how it operated.
After the presentation, town mayor Cllr Rachel Hood told the students: “I think you will find that all the councillors are very much in favour of what you are doing.”
And Cllr Michael Jefferys added: “Back in 1999 at its very first meeting the town council approved £10,000 for the first skate park which shows just how old it is.”
Cllr Andy Drummond, who is also in charge of Forest Heath council’s leisure portfolio, said he would try to help at district level.
The students could also take heart from the example set in nearby Burwell where work on a new skate park is set to start in the next few weeks thanks to local fund-raising, £20,000 from the parish council, and£80,000 from WREN, an organisation which awards grants for community projects.