Skaters launch campaign to see £300k facility built in Crystal Palace Park

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First published in News
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A group of skaters is campaigning to see the sport return to Crystal Palace Park and has already amassed nearly 1,000 signatures in support.

‘Crystal Palace Skatepark’ (CPS) has taken to petition website Change.org to raise awareness of its plans, and conversations with Bromley Council to discuss a possible £300k development have already taken place.

Two residents behind the project, Jakub Grochla, 21, and Curtis O’Dell, 19, said the authority’s response has been positive and are desperate to see the facility built.

Design student Jakub, from Clock House, told News Shopper: "There aren’t any big skate parks in south London - we have to go a long way to visit a good one.

"Crystal Palace is an ideal place to be, it’s got loads of history and a massive skater scene. We need something to do for our generation and for the next guys coming through.

"South London’s pretty deprived for stuff for young people. But we think Crystal Palace is a great place - it’s a big park."

Curtis, who is about to start at art foundation, also mentioned Crystal Palace’s history as a skater hotspot and added although an initial meeting with the council went well, nothing has been decided.

He said: "The council agreed it’s the perfect place - they’re looking into it. People have tried in the past and we just thought it’s about time it happens.

"It’d be amazing to see a skate park here by next summer, so we can enjoy it while we’re still young. But who knows what’s going to happen."

Curtis, left, and Jakub 

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A council spokesman said: "The council is working with the Mayor of London to bring about improvements in Crystal Palace Park to improve the landscape, heritage features and visitor facilities, with the intention that some of these improvements can go ahead in a reasonably short space of time.

"One of the many proposals includes a skate park suggested by members of the local community as well as other options for improved parking and a new visitor centre which are all being considered."

Skateboarding magazine Crossfire said Crystal Palace hosted south London's first ramp and described the area as "a mecca for skateboarding in the 1970s and 80s".

Phil Burgoyne. Photo 'Mike 86'

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However, whether those days return depends on consultations with residents and Chinese firm the ZhongRong Group, which wants to invest in the site.

Numerous ideas have been put forward for the park’s future and community feedback sessions begin at the visitor's centre on Sunday June 15. 

CPS has been working with skate park construction company Wheelscape to look at potential designs. Below is an artist’s impression of what a £300,000 project would look like.

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