This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Fun for all: A skatepark in Teignmouth, Devon, which was designed and built by specialist fi rm Wheelscape


The vast majority of outdoor skateparks are free- to-use and publicly-owned. While some commercially-run indoor skateparks exist, most indoor sites are run as com- munity-interest companies. Most projects to build a skatepark have multiple fund- ing-streams. Money might come from local and/or regional-level councils (often section 106 derived funds are used), the National Lottery, Sport England, and fundraising ven- tures by the user-group and other local advocates. Some user-groups have raised tens of thousands of pounds through a series of small-scale events such as fun runs, music nights, and so on. In some cases, brownfi eld sites are rented from local authorities at peppercorn rates. But more commonly, a peripheral or underused central site is leased from a local authority.


RIGHT MATERIALS


The materials and techniques used to build skateparks have progressed dra- matically in the UK in the last decade. Skateparks built from wood, a stand-


ard material ten years ago, are now viewed as degrading too quickly, often taking only months to signifi cantly


ISSUE 1 2012 © cybertrek 2011


THE MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES USED TO BUILD SKATEPARKS HAVE PROGRESSED DRAMATICALLY IN THE UK IN THE LAST DECADE


worsen, offering less ‘pop’ (the extent that the board rebounds), and giving less fl exibility in terms of design than concrete. Wood does retain a place, however, being suitable for temporary, event-specifi c parks, or for permanent indoor parks. Metal parks should be seen as noisy, unreassuringly cheap, and can be prone to rapid and danger- ous degradation. Concrete parks fall into two catego- ries: modular and sprayed, with the latter now being the high-end industry standard. Each element of a modular park is built using moulds, meaning inevitable, wheel-catching ‘seams’. Sprayed parks are built by laying foundations of wood and wire-mesh onto which concrete is sprayed. Designers have the freedom to build irregularly-shaped parks of elegant, undulating curves and humps, with the entire structure made from one piece


of concrete. These parks have fewer ‘seams’ and designs can be closely tailored to particular geographies. Minor variations in the gradation of ramps hugely affect their ‘ride’. Whilst the very best skatepark-users – semi-professionals and upwards - might prefer unusual angling or sharp changes in surface or gradation, the vast majority of skateparks users will always prefer predictability and regular- ity; achieving these require specialist knowledge, skills and equipment. Designing and building high-qual- ity skateparks is a highly specialised venture. Only three companies work- ing in the UK are currently capable of building top-fl ight skateparks. Leaving the design of a skatepark to non- users and the build to non-specialists is like asking non-golfers to design an 18-hole course, and contracting a wheat farmer to turf it.


Read Leisure Management online leisuremanagement.co.uk/digital 57


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