Les Quennevais has been selected out of 15 locations as the best site for a new £800k skatepark, which will become the “hub of urban sports” in the island.
The news comes nearly 18 months after the New North Quay Skatepark was closed following reported antisocial behaviour by users of the facility.
The park was eventually reopened under reduced opening hours on a temporary basis with Ports of Jersey – the landowner - passing the responsibility for managing the site to the then Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Department and pledging £50,000 to assist with the relocation of the facility.
The money was used for feasibility studies, with sport and leisure consultancy firm PMR Leisure compiling a Social Case Report that was released in December, following consultation with the island’s urban sports community.
Pictured: The New North Quay Skatepark closed down in January 2018 before reopening under reduced hours.
They concluded that the new skatepark should have a minimum 1000sqm useable area, built in concrete, and be easily accessible from St. Helier. It should also have space for crowds and spectators as well as toilet facilities, parking and food outlets nearby.
According to a Government-produced site suitability report, Les Quennevais – which has 4,000sqm of available surface and is already owned by the States - ticks all the boxes.
It was assessed against 14 other potential sites which included Fort Regent, La Collette Gardens, Les Jardins de la Mer and People’s Park. It received an overall score of 90.00, ahead of Springfield Sports Centre and Coronation Park.
Pictured: Les Quennevais Sports Centre has 4,000sqm of surface available.
“The site scores highly in all criteria except accessibility as although on the best served public bus route, it is outside of St Helier and may prove unattractive to users during weekdays when a relatively high travel time will be required for limited use,” the report notes.
It is therefore being recommended to build “multiple satellite facilities” - described as 50m2 to 250m2 facilities, often referred to as ‘skate dots’, or skate-able terrain integrated into existing public spaces – and to refurbish existing ones.
This would be done across the island, but especially around St. Helier, with Springfield Sports Centre and South Hill being described as “the most suitable sites for a large scale facility” in town, although smaller areas have not been identified.
Pictured: Millennium Town Park sports court could be converted for sole use as a skatepark to provide facilities closer to town.
“There is also the option of improving the facilities at Millennium Town Park by converting the sports court for sole use as a skatepark or skate facility,” the Report continues. “Enhancement of the St John’s Recreation Centre facility is an option for improving provision across the island.”
The proposals will soon go out for consultation “to enable all those living and working close to Les Quennevais, as well as valued users of the Sports Centre and all interested islanders” to learn more about them, the Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture with delegated responsibility for Sport, Senator Steve Pallett said.
Pictured: Senator Pallett said a £1.3 million business case has been included in the Government plan for additional skater friendly facilities around the island.
“We would also like to engage further with the Jersey Skateparks Association (JSA) and skatepark users regarding the design of the new facility which is likely to be between 1,500 and 2,000 square metres in size,” Senator Pallett added.
It is estimated the new facility would cost £800,000 but the Assistant Minister assured a business case has been put forward within the upcoming Government Plan for £1.3 million over two years to include additional skater friendly facilities around the island.
Upon approval of plans and the necessary funding, Les Quennevais will be the site of a mixed use park where skaters, BMXers, rollerbladers and scooters will be able to learn and improve their skills.
Pictured: A potential design for Les Quennevais by Danish architects Glifberg-Lykke.
Karl Payne from the Jersey Skateparks Accociation said: “We have worked closely with the Government of Jersey on the plan to have a main hub for the park users at Les Quennevais. Together we developed the other major part of the plan to create a number of smaller sites in St Helier and across the island.
“We believe that this plan will serve Jersey better than one single park, and will future-proof the island by having more facilities for urban sports as more young people get involved in skateboarding, BMXing, rollerblading and other wheeled sports.”
The new skatepark is to be constructed by the end of June 2020.
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