Council steps in to pay for fire damage at St Neots Skateboard Ramp

Skateboard Park, St Neots

Skateboard Park, St Neots - Credit: Archant

Vandals have caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to the new surface of the skateboard ramp in St Neots - just a few weeks after the facility reopened.

A fire was lit in the middle of the vertical ramp at the Riverside Park overnight on August 23 and repairs are likely to be in the region of £600.

Councillor Robin Carter, executive councillor for environment, street scene and operations, said: “The skate ramps at St Neots provide a great facility for people of all ages. Following a year of hard work withe the Revamp the Ramp group, it is disappointing and upsetting it has now been damaged by fire. The district council is currently exploring quotes for repairing the ramp and will be covering the cost.”

A campaign was launched in August last year by the Revamp the Ramp group to raise money for the new Skatelite surface, which makes the vertical ramp one of only two outdoor facilities in the UK of competition standard.

The new surface was put to the test on August 7 after months of work to upgrade the surface which had become worn.

Skaters travelled from as far afield as Finland and the US to take part in the event, held in memory of skateboarder Steve Bayless who passed away in April.

The group’s Joe Gacon said he and members of Revamp the Ramp had worked closely with Huntingdonshire District Council to complete the work in just 12 months.

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“After listening to our concerns and working closely with the ramp group, the district council have revamped the vertical ramp that was previously so rough it was beyond use. Many of the skaters told us they loved the new ramp and that it made a change not to be spending hours training in some stuffy warehouse.

“With skateboarding to be a part of the 2020 Olympics, this skatepark and competion-size ramp is now more important than ever and the Revamp The Ramp group are hoping this will generate more funding to ensure its future success. Some of the best vert skaters travelled to St Neots from all over the UK to take part and to honour our friend Steve Bayless.”

Mr Bayless, described as a “skateboard fanatic” died on April 24 at his home in Norfolk, but the 42-year-old was a prominent and active member of the UK skateboarding scene and was heavily involved in the development of the skateboard park in St Neots.

“Steve was the kind of guy who would encourage anyone to skate and always had the time to chat to people of all ages and abilities. Steve was like a big friendly giant who would plod around the park, but then wow us all with balance on the board that none of us possessed. A memorial plaque in memory of Mr Bayless was erected at the ramp.

Councillor Robin Carter, executive councillor for environment, street scene and operations, said: “I am delighted that the district council has been able to revamp the ramp by resurfacing the vert ramp, which has both allowed a successful event to be held in St Neots and raised the profile of this key community facility.”