Skaters launch bid to save St Neots park

Jo Gacon and John Foster survey the damage.

Jo Gacon and John Foster survey the damage. - Credit: Archant

Skateboarders in St Neots are appealing to the public for help after discovering their ramp at the Riverside Park has become so damaged that it is now unusable.

The damage to the skateboard ramp at St Neots

The damage to the skateboard ramp at St Neots - Credit: Archant

Riding the ramp in its present condition would be like playing “Russian roulette” said skateboarder Jo Gacon who has launched a Facebook campaign, which has already had huge interest, in the hope that someone will come forward with advice on how it can be repaired.

He told The Hunts Post he was horrified when he went down to the ramp on July 21 and discovered deep grooves in the surface where several layers of old paint and surface material are lifting off.

“I haven’t been there for a while and I heard people were complaining that it was in a bad state so I went down to see for myself and there are some huge issues – riding it would be like playing Russian roulette,” he said. “The problem is that the paint has been applied layer by layer and it is probably four millimetres deep in some places and it’s breaking down. I would liken it to riding on a dirt track on a penny farthing.”

The ramp was opened in 1989 by a group called the St Neots Pirates and in 2006 it was refurbished with funding from Huntingdonshire District Council and a grant from the National Lottery. The ramp is of world-class competition standard and one of the only outdoor vert ramps in the country.

Although the ramp remains structurally sound, the damaged surface means it is not safe to ride, but removing several layers of paint would be a huge undertaking and there are environmental issues to consider also.

“The skatepark is on a floodplain so it would not be advisable to use paint stripper on it which could then run into the river,” explained Mr Gacon, from Eaton Socon. “What we need to do is to get this paint off and start afresh. It is just not an option to apply more paint, but how we are going to get it back up to standard I don’t know. What we are hoping is that someone will come forward from the local community who is willing to help or advise us. The local people are really proud of this facility and we want to make sure we keep it. But it needs to be safe.”

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INFORMATION: Contact Joseph Gacon on Facebook.