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Cash dries up for skatepark
FOUR years after it was first mooted and four months after it was due to open, an East Oxford skatepark is still incomplete.
Further improvements to the long-awaited skate park at Blackbird Leys are required but cannot happen until cash is found.
Oxford City Council refuted suggestions the park required major work and said it was confident of an official opening soon.
An opening date of October 27 was set but problems with the weather and equipment meant the bulldozers stuck around until November.
Bored of waiting for the ribbon to be cut, skaters began to use the £60,000 park anyway, but Blackbird Leys Parish Council is unhappy with its current state.
Chairman Gordon Roper consulted local skaters and asked for extra railings, bars on which users can do tricks, to be fitted and more tarmac.
City council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “We are looking at options for further improvements.”
Jamie Murray, of charity Groundworks Thames Valley, contracted to build the project by the city and parish councils, said: “We are waiting on a few things to be signed off and then it will look like we can pencil in a date for an official opening.
“Most of the work has been done, and it is in use, but there are a few things which all parties would like to tidy up.
“There is a chance we could resurface the multi-use games area, which would be great news for local children and give it a much longer life, and we are also looking at fixing up the land around the skate park. The tarmac area needs fixing up so we are just waiting for the nod.
“It has been a difficult project, with the weather and timing at the end of the year but we feel very happy with it.
“We’re hearing from police and from the parish council that the children are enjoying it and it is keeping them busy so despite the hiccups it looks to have been a very worthwhile project.”
The skatepark’s completion could co-incide with a face-lift of the surrounding area but a date has not yet been set.
Mr Murray added: “We are looking at securing more funding for improvements to Frys Hill and Spindleberry Nature Reserve, and are working with the city and parish councils to try to make it a reality for summer.”
Promises of a new skate zone for the estate go back to 2009 when their old skate park was bulldozed to make way for a Co-op nursery in Cuddesdon Way.
The Co-op gave Oxford City Council £60,000 to fund new sports facilities.
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