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Skatepark designs unveiled ahead of location vote

Skatepark designs unveiled ahead of location vote

Wednesday 03 February 2021

Skatepark designs unveiled ahead of location vote


The Government has revealed what the new skatepark could look like at South Hill or Les Quennevais, ahead of a States Assembly vote on which site should be chosen.

Though the Economic Development Minister is arguing that South Hill Gardens should be the new park’s home, former Assistant Minister for Sport Senator Steve Pallett is standing by his belief the park should be built at Les Quennevais.

Politicians are scheduled to debate which site should be chosen next Tuesday 9 February.

Ahead of that, the Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, as well as Assistant Minister Hugh Raymond and Government officers, today unveiled the new concept designs for both South Hill Park and Les Quennevais, sharing why South Hill had become their preferred site.

South_Park_Skate_Park.jpg

Pictured: Officers said the design was made to fit in with the landscape around it.

Infrastructure, Housing and Environment Officer Oliver Brewster said the change of plan followed a “mix of vocal concern from internal and external stakeholders about the Les Quennevais site.”

He linked this to a desire for accessibility, saying it “is not a choice between South Hill Gardens or Les Quennevais Sports Centre – it’s more a choice of where the public, or where the States Assembly, feel it’s best to distribute the facilities across the island and how these may better correlate with the population distribution.”

A recent consultation with more than 2,500 islanders on where they would prefer the skatepark was also cited, with 59.8% of respondents saying they would prefer South Hill Gardens over Les Quennevais.

The Government's preference for South Hill comes despite the fact it would be more expensive than Les Quennevais.

South_Hill_Benefits.jpg

Pictured: Officers said population density as a key motivator in moving their preference to Les Quennevais.

Officers said it would cost in the region of £1.2m, funded by the Government, with contributions from Ports of Jersey and the States of Jersey Development Company.

If States Members approve South Hill as the preferred site next week, Senator Farnham said a planning application would be lodged at the end of February, with the build starting at the beginning of August, and the facility open by the end of January 2022.

However, Senator Steve Pallett, who last month put forward a proposition to push through with the original plan to build the skatepark built at Les Quennevais, argues that “South Hill is not a suitable option for the new main skatepark for Jersey,” arguing that not enough consultation had been done and that the only way the park “can realistically happen is to proceed with Les Quennevais and not change track and consider an alternative site.”

He added that “to move to another site will involve a similar degree of consultation that was carried out for Les Quennevais Sports Centre, and that will undoubtedly require several months to complete" - though IHE Director Andrew Scate said that the consultation would take place within the planning process once designs are submitted.

Quennevais_Skate_Park.jpg

Pictured: A concept design of what the skate park could look like if it was at Les Quennevais.

Regardless of which site is chosen, the main skatepark will be complemented by a number of 'satellite' skating sites around the island - small areas with a single skate-friendly obstacle or feature, such as banks and curbs.

A May 2020 presentation unearthed following a recent request under the Freedom of Information Law showed that, under the original plan, satellite sites at Millennium Park, South Hill, People's Park, Victoria Avenue and St. Andrew's Park were all under consideration alongside a main park at Les Quennevais. It also touted a possible facility at Le Rocquier.

Among the reasons cited for not favouring a location in St. Helier were as follows. 

  • "Lack of available space.
  • "Not owned or administered by GHE.
  • "Other legal constraints restricting development.
  • "Planning constraints.
  • "Linked to other planned developments or projects.
  • "Sensitive neighbours.
  • "Engineering constraints.
  • "Conflict with current use.
  • "Restricted opening times."

Les Quennevais, meanwhile, was deemed preferable for the following reasons.

  • "Administered by GHE.
  • "Lots of available space.
  • "No planning constraints.
  • "No other related projects or development.
  • "Far from residential ares.
  • "Space and opportunity for spectators.
  • "No contaminated land expected.
  • "Viable drainage by soakaway.
  • "No other current use.
  • "Existing management and maintenance.
  • "Other on site facilities such as toilets and first aid.
  • "Open to the public."

The only disadvantage listed in the presentation was "not in St. Helier." 

Jersey Skateparks Association, which have been consulted on the proposals, appeared to welcome the South Hill site plans.

They said: "We are still working on this as there are more elements to add. The bowl section on [South Hill Gardens] is raised up high which also allows for an excellent viewing platform across the rest of the site looking west/southwest. There are some large natural elements due to the topography of the site. This is what we meant by stating the site was more “dynamic."

"There is more work to be done but it’s looking good."

A skatepark isn't the only major revamp looking likely in the South Hill area - the former Environment and Planning office building is being considered for housing or tourism use, with funds from its sale potentially going towards reducing the Government's covid debt.

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Comments

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
It shocks me, don't know why ~ but there are two detailed plans for different locations for a Skatepark site ~ but not ONE detailed drawing concerning the new road at Westmount.
Whilst I totally agree that a new park would be great for the users ~ I just feel that the New Hospital is somehow more important.
Noise must be the overall tie breaker ~ Les Q seems to win.
Posted by Private Individual on
What an absolute waste of taxpayers' money.

These kids have had one skate park after another that they never use. What about the town park that they don't use, or the one at Fort regent they never used, or the original one at Bel Vue pleasure park. The list is endless.

Taxpayer's money should not be used for this whatsoever.

It is an antisocial activity that should be banned not encouraged.
Posted by StevenFitzgibbon27 on
I think the people working on the skate park should be those working on the hospital access road project - it is amazing how the site was not being considered until very recently and they have managed to develop scheme drawings!! Amazing what can be done when there is the will to do so.
Posted by Teddy Shreddingham on
Alarming how outdated and out of touch “Private Individual’s” comments are. That’s all opinion, not based on facts and ignorant of detail. All previous parks have been heavily used. As soon as one closed there was petitions for more. It’s hardly been one after the other, it’s been years upon years of no appropriate facilities. All previous parks were temporary and not really fit for purpose. They were short term answers when a long term solution was needed. It’s the negative uncompassionate views like Private Individuals that halted long term solutions decades ago and left us in this position. We could have got it right first time round. How can something that is an Olympic sport be anti social? The extreme sports community are more inclusive than any other sport community and they’d probably be very happy to sit down with you to talk about it, maybe that way you have a better understanding.
Posted by MichaelEvans46 on
Anywhere within the town area is better than Les Quennevais, having worked near the current site on the New North Quay I know how much it is used, also the majority of the population live nearer to town not out west also if Jersey wants to become carbon neutral thousands of journeys each year to Les Quennevais are not going to help
Posted by Private Individual on
It's antisocial when these skateboarders are trashing all the low walls and banging the skateboard morning noon and night. And when you ask them politely if they would please go somewhere else, like in front of their own home, you are met with a rant of abuse that I can't type here.

It is antisocial which is why the residents that would border Les Q option do not want it put there.

Besides the fact that the skateboarders have been abusing the area at the harbor since it was put down, there is a testament to why it should not be built with taxpayers' money.

If they want one so much why not ask all the parents to get together and pay for it themselves?
Posted by Glen Rayner on
Private Individual, zzzzzzzzzzz. Time to get in line with the modern world. We’re not stuck back in your yesteryear where a child should be seen and not heard.

Whilst not a skater. These plans look fantastic. Perhaps both sites could be made use of. About time Jersey provided some top notch, permanent facilities for our youth. The problem I feel is these plans are put forward, hope is given, then taken away and a second rate facility created, such as the previous ones.
Posted by Private Individual on
Like I said why don't you start a crowdfunding page and see how much money you can raise then the taxpayer will match it pound for pound.

It's a win-win for everyone then, you get a skate park and we get to see how much people really want one, perhaps a bit of fund raining would help also.

But that would mean the skateboarding fraternity would have to actually do some work to get something instead of the taxpayer funding it.

Sorry, but we have more pressing issues to attend to than building a multimillion-pound project that will not be used, taxpayers money needs to be spent on much more urgent problems than pandering to a minority group wish list.
Posted by Private Individual on
What about the water runoff from this site?

The way it is designed it will be like a cascading waterfall all the way to the bottom of mount Bingham!

At the moment the water naturally seeps into the ground, if a park is created at this location there will be nowhere for the water to run off to, it will create the most expensive waterpark the island has seen!
Posted by Glen Rayner on
Surprise, surprise. Old Jersey Bean wants no taxpayer money to be well spent on a top notch facility. A facility that’s is bound to be well used and clearly designed to last for decades.

The residents of Les Q would be against the idea? With the skate park being set out in the middle of sports fields, far away from any housing, this is unlikely. Im sure the noise pollution from the football pitches is far worse.

All issues are pressing to those that care about them. Maybe your huge concern about taxpayers money being wasted would be better directed to those in charge of the hospital saga.
Posted by Private Individual on
What about the water runoff from this site?

The way it is designed it will be like a cascading waterfall all the way to the bottom of mount Bingham!

At the moment the water naturally seeps into the ground, if a park is created at this location there will be nowhere for the water to run off to, it will create the most expensive waterpark the island has seen!
Posted by Private Individual on
Glen, you do not know if I'm a "bean" or not, so please do not assume that I am.

You are correct in what you say that the hospital project is a debacle in the making, however, the difference is that the hospital once built will benefit all islanders not a very small select group who are pursuing an extremely anti-social pastime.

It is obscene the money that has been wasted on it so far.

What these plans do not show is the cost of the build and maintenance payments once built. Our roads are falling apart with massive potholes everywhere you drive, if this money is available it should be spent repairing the road system that everyone uses not a wish list from Hugh Raymond just so he can score political points for the next election.

Steve Pallet is correct with his statement that the work has been done for it to be sited at Les Q, not Westmount.

Please also consider that this is also smoke and mirrors to detract people from the real issue of the 1 billion pounds being spent on the hospital project.

Finally, perhaps if Hugh Raymond has done a deal with the bowling club at West Mount and they going to gift the bowling club Warwick farm as a new venue, you could ask him to incorporate a skate park on the same site. It has plenty of room and as it isn't an antisocial pastime I am sure the bowling fraternity will welcome some youth partaking in another outdoor sport right to them with open arms.
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