Skate park campaigners hope Olympic glory works in their favour

Ely Country Park could hold a new skate park and BMX track

Campaigners from the RASE group hope successes in skateboarding and BMX at the Tokyo Olympics can help inspire their bid for a new skate park and BMX track at Ely Country Park (pictured). - Credit: RASE

Campaigners for a skate park and BMX track in Ely hope the successes at this year’s Olympic Games can inspire councillors to provide one for the city. 

Riding and Skating Ely (RASE) are at the pre-application stage for a skate park and BMX track which they hope to be located at Ely Country Park. 

A group spokesperson said: “The architect is known for her environmentally-friendly designing and this will be central to the planning process.” 

RASE, made up of eight members including local councillors and young people, also includes architect Margherita Cesca Nelder-Haynes. 

The group hopes that the triumphs of 13-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, as well as Team GB’s BMX racing and freestyle medallists at the Tokyo Games, can be a deciding factor. 

“Just as Tom Daley couldn’t have become a champion without access to a pool, our young riders and skaters need access to a skate park,” said the spokesperson. 

“We know that we’ve got talent in the country and in our community, so it’s time to take it seriously and nurture its growth.” 

Stan Hickish is the chair of Riding and Skating Ely

Stan Hickish, chair of the RASE group, has led campaigns for a new skate park and BMX track in Ely since 2017. - Credit: Archant

An online petition for the new facility has so far gathered over 1,340 signatures, having given a presentation to City of Ely Council in February after gaining enough support. 

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RASE, which stated that a fifth of Ely’s population is aged between 0-15-years-old, also said there is a shortfall in play facilities for young people. 

The spokesperson said: “Looking at the East Cambridgeshire District Council Play Audit of 2012-2013, there is a deficit of play facilities for the ages of 6-12 and 13 to 18 age groups. 

“Although Ely’s play areas cater for toddlers, the audit identifies significant shortfalls in provision for juniors and youths.” 

RASE chair Stan Hickish has been campaigning for a new skate park since 2017. 

By building a new facility, they believe Ely Country Park will no longer be “severely neglected” and that young peoples’ lifestyles will also improve. 

“This will have a significant impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing,” the spokesperson added. 

“Of course, the designs will ensure the space is accessible for everyone.  

“Dog walkers and joggers as well as those using the skate park, and nature will be encouraged to thrive.” 

To contribute, visit RASE’s fundraising page at: https://bit.ly/2XJ6RWo.  

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