Skatepark campaigner applauds new plans
Plans for new play equipment in Caistor went on show yesterday – and the skatepark facilities have been given far greater prominence than earlier suggested.
As previously reported in the Citizen, Caistor Town Council won £35,000 in grant funding earlier this month for a new games area, skatepark facilities and outdoor gym equipment at the sports ground off North Kelsey Road.
The cost of the project is £65,000 in total, with the rest of the money coming from town council funds. It is hoped groundworks will start in October and that the facilities will be ready next Spring.
There was good news for Caistor’s skatepark campaigners as the plans were unveiled at a drop-in session at the Sports and Social Club yesterday (Friday, August 21, 2015).
“I’m feeling happier about this than I’ve felt for a very long time,” said Shona Wall, editor of the Citizen and a member of the Skatepark Committee which disbanded in March 2014. “The skatepark equipment is much better than I thought it would be.”
A report presented to Caistor Town Council in December 2014 suggested young people would prefer prominence be given to having a smaller skatepark and smaller games area, and a bigger outdoor gym. The report was compiled by Debbie Chambers, of Lincolnshire County Council’s Youth and Community Development Service.
But a conversation overheard by the Citizen gave an indication of how the new All About You programme for young people in Caistor might work in practice – and just how much power the town’s youngsters might enjoy in the future.
“When you were working on the All About You website, you said you didn’t think the skatepark looked very exciting,” said Town Clerk Helen Pitman, to three boys at the drop-in session. “Are you pleased with the changes?”
“Yes,” said one of the boys. “It’s good that you’ve got the spine.”
“How tall is the quarter-pipe?” asked another.
On hearing that it was 1.50m high, he looked impressed. “Pretty good,” he said.
The proposed skatepark area is 10m x 19m and the plans include a quarterpipe 1.50m high x 2.44m wide x 3.17m long. There are also plans for a handrail box 0.82m high x 0.30m and 6.39m long; a funbox 0.40m high x 2.44m x 1.22m long; a flat wedge 0.40m high x 2.44m x 2.00m long; a fly wedge 0.40m high x 2.44m x 1.57m long, a large street spine 1.10m high x 2.44m x 3.70m long, a roll-in 1.50m high x 2.44m x 4.21m long and grindrails 0.20m to 0.40m high x 0.06 wide x 4.50m long.
In the drawing above, the orange box represents the store, the grey box represents the skatepark and games area – though when built they will be positioned closer to the bank than suggested in this illustration, in line with the store. The four small grey boxes represent the outdoor gyn equipment. The games area will be fenced to try to prevent balls going into neighbouring gardens.
The games area is 10m x 17.5m with markings for football and basketball play and the outdoor gym will comprise a stepper, shoulder press, leg press and arm curl. The outdoor equipment will be adjustable, with different levels of difficulty, and could be used by adults and young people over the age of 14.
Present at the drop-in was Caistor Mayor Carol Mackenzie, town councillor Angela Clark, and Town Clerk Helen Pitman, whose work was largely instrumental in obtaining the funding. Also present was the All About You Project Manager Robert Pitman, and Sam Atkins, company director of C1 Media who helped to set up the All About You website. Mr Atkins filmed interviews with Mayor Mackenzie and nine-year-old Jessica Wall, who was selected because she had parental consent for the filming.
Mayor Mackenzie and Jessica told the film crews their thoughts about the proposed new equipment as part of a project to document the development of the play area.
The new facilities will crown nearly 20 years of campaigning for better skatepark facilities in Caistor. Asked if she felt excited, Ms Pitman said she was, but added that her initial feeling was “sheer relief.”
“It was the preparation work for the Positive Activities Operational Plan that clinched it,” she said. “All the evidence needed had already been prepared.”
The Positive Activities programme includes the All About You project. Mr Pitman gave more information about how the project could unfold. Young people would be able to post “campaigns” for the sort of activities they would like to see and the support for the campaigns would be monitored, he said.
“Say if one of them asked for a nine-seater taxi to run to Brigg every Sunday so a group of youngsters could go swimming, is that the sort of thing that might happen?” asked one parent.
“Yes,” said Mr Pitman. “But we want the website to give us an idea of how many young people would be likely to use it, so we would need them to register their support for the campaigns.”
The website url is www.allaboutyoucaistor.co.uk