New Chichester skate park proves popular

C111393-1 Chi Sep1 Skatepark  Photo Louise Adams''Roller blader Jamie Stenner tries out the newly installed skate park.
C111393-1 Chi Sep1 Skatepark Photo Louise Adams''Roller blader Jamie Stenner tries out the newly installed skate park.

After four years of hard work, extreme sports fans in Chichester have a new state-of-the-art skate park to show off their skills.

The skate park by Westgate Leisure Centre opened last week following four years of lobbying and fundraising by a determined group who wanted better facilities.

With help from Chichester District Council, which owns the park, the old ramps and rails were replaced by professionally designed and built features.

It means that skateboarders, rollerbladers and bikers no longer have to go to other towns along the south coast to get their thrills.

Jamie Stenner, a professional rollerblader and owner of the ESP Skate Shop in Chichester, led the project and hopes it will help others turn professional as he did last summer.

“It’s always been great to have a local park that we can go to, but the old skate park needed to be modernised,” he said.

“We worked with Freestyle Skate Parks, who designed and fitted the concrete features, to come up with something that people of all skills and abilities could use.

“We’re really pleased with how it has turned out and look forward to lots of people being able to enjoy it.

“The amount of messages I have had just saying thanks has been obscene.”

He worked with skaters from across the district to secure funding for the project from Youth Opportunities.

The Leisure and Wellbeing Team at the council then worked hard to get further funding from the SITA Trust to make sure the project could take place.

The group then chose the best and most affordable design, and watched it take shape over 12 weeks this summer.

Cllr Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for leisure and wellbeing, said: “The skate park at Westgate Leisure Chichester has always been very well used.

“We hope that skaters, bikers, bladers and others will be able to practise and improve their skills even more now it has been redesigned.”

To mark the opening of the park, the council and ESP Skate Shop have organised a jam event on Sunday, September 25.

From 10am onwards, competitions will take place for each sport: bikes, blades and boards, with prizes and freebies.

The competition will be free to enter.

Registration will take place on the day, and those aged under 16 will require parental consent.

Extreme sports fans should note that helmets and pads are compulsory.