Lighting and security cameras have been installed at the newly opened skate park on George Lambton Playing Fields, in Newmarket, marking completion of a three-year project, led by local young people.
The project to replace an end-of-life collection of steel and timber structures was initiated in 2017 and young people from Newmarket Academy began fundraising the following year.
They developed the bespoke design with their preferred contractor, Gravity Engineering Ltd who completed the free-flowing all-in-one concrete space with a new bowl feature, at the end of August. The cost of this first phase was £192,000 meet by contributions from West Suffolk Council, Orbit Housing, Anglian Water and Godolphin.
The second phase, including new and upgraded lighting, security cameras and bins is now complete and will allow year round use as well as improving a key section of the Yellow Brick Road pedestrian and cycle link between residential areas and the town centre.
This phase cost £43,000 and was met by contributions including £5,000 from Newmarket Town Council, Suffolk County Council locality budget funding of £6,747 from councillor Hood and £5,000 from councillor Drummond, plus £6,555 locality budget funding in total from the six West Suffolk ward councillors Anderson, Drummond, Hood, Lay, Nobbs and Soons. The balance was met by West Suffolk Council capital renewal funding.
John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, and Robert Everitt, West Suffolk Cabinet member for Communities, congratulated the “tenacious” young people for not only achieving their own ambitions but for regenerating the area for the wider community.
Nick Froy, Principal of Newmarket Academy, said: “I am delighted that the students are enjoying the fruits of their years’ of effort. They have worked incredibly hard with the support of the Orbit housing group, Anglian Water, Godolphin, and the town, district and county councils to make this plan come to life and in so doing contribute to the improvement of our town and provide our young people with a skatepark. I am so proud of their vision, commitment and resilience.”
Fiona Butcher, Place-making and Partnership Manager of Orbit Housing, said: “One of the most rewarding things about this project is that it has been the pupils who have driven its success from the start after they first approached Orbit with their ideas and requested funding for a new skate park because the old one was unfit for purpose. Since then, it has been a real collaborative approach and shows what a thriving community can achieve when it works together. I am so pleased that the skate park has been completed. Well done to all those involved, especially Newmarket’s young people who have shown drive, determination and teamwork throughout this process, it has been an absolute pleasure working with them.”
Town, district and county councillors Andy Drummond and Rachel Hood added that they were “delighted” to have supported the young people.
Pictured above are the young people who led the project over the past three years.