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New Blackbird Leys skatepark set to get added attractions
AFTER a four-year wait, the official opening of a £60,000 skatepark on an Oxford estate has been further delayed so it can be expanded.
The Frys Hill skatepark project in Blackbird Leys was due to open at the end of October, but now the formal ribbon-cutting isn’t expected to take place until early January.
Although some children have already started using the half pipe that has been installed, Blackbird Leys Parish Council want time to make the site even bigger.
Councillors are to due to meet the contractor next week about further expansions to the site, which include more railings for skaters to practise their moves.
Parish council chairman Gordon Roper said: “We are having a meeting on Tuesday with Groundwork where we will talk about what else we can do to make it even better.
“We’ve asked Groundwork for a breakdown of costs on what else we can do and what other equipment is there as we don’t feel there is enough there.
“I went down on one of the days Oxford United were playing and there must have been 30 kids there.
“I went over and spoke to them and the huge majority said they couldn’t be happier with it. They said they were over the moon about having something to do.
“However, some said they were a little disappointed and wanted a few more things, so we are going to try to accommodate that.
“We might even consult with residents about lighting so they can use it in the dusk, although we wouldn’t want them using it all night.”
There were some problems during construction work, as building equipment was vandalised.
But Mr Roper dismissed fears it could become trashed once it is finally completed.
Blackbird and Greater Leys have been without skating facilities since 2009 when a park in Cuddesdon Way was demolished to make way for a nursery.
The mitigation cash set aside for the nursery, known as section 106 money, was then to be ploughed into creating somewhere for the youth of the area to play.
However, the development stalled and children said they were forced to travel to Abingdon and Thame to skate.
Mr Roper added: “Blackbird Leys is one of the most active parish councils. We do understand our youngsters need something to do to keep them out of trouble, and we are constantly on the lookout to make things better for them and do what we can.
“It will keep many of them busy and give them something fun to do, which is so important. It’s been four years in the making, so let’s see where we are when we get it properly up and running.”
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