Residents respond to Great Dunmow's unofficial skate park

PUBLISHED: 10:52 12 April 2012 | UPDATED: 11:56 13 April 2012

The hidden skate park

The hidden skate park

Archant

In last week’s Dunmow Broadcast we revealed a hidden skate park under the A120 to the south of the town. The article sparked widespread reaction. Read all the letters we received here and find out the origins of the “unofficial skate park”.

I AM writing in response to your article regarding the ‘unofficial skate park’.

The park was built six months ago and has provided the area with a decent facility used by both locals and those that travel from neighbouring towns.

The impetus for the construction was to provide users with a dry facility for the winter months as the skatepark on the causeway is unusable when wet (plus in need of TLC and over run with young children on scooters).

The construction was a joint venture by many different people and although concrete slabs were used to form part of the structure, the majority of these slabs were actually pulled from the river. Stating that the initial removal of the slabs was by enthusiastic skaters is unfounded and you have portrayed skateboarders in a bad light without researching properly.

What you failed to notice on your visit is that there are still a number of slabs lining the river bed and at one point there was effectively a dam/bridge across the water.

Walkers of the ‘green lane’ will confirm that skateboarders are not the only users of the underpass and if you inspect a little closer you will see that there is a lot of damage to the area by motorised vehicles.

Putting the ‘vandalism’ accusation to one side, the facility has been a huge success and it most definitely is enterprising. A lot of hard work has gone in to the construction and in the main, we, the skateboarders, have tried to keep the area clean and tidy.

Furthermore, this type of area is absolutely ideal for a skatepark facility. Not only is it dry, but also away from residential areas and a good use of an unused land.

James Glen

Dunmow

I THINK the skaters should be allowed keep it.

There is nothing for youngsters to do when it rains, at least they can skate there and they are not annoying anyone either.

Maybe the council could even give it some funding to improve it – and make it official.

Nicola Pereira

Takeley

I AM a skateboarder who has been skating for around 11 years.

I work within the industry at Park DX Colchester (a shop and indoor skatepark facility) as co-manager and have set up various competitions and help the skateboard community by organising trips and teaching the younger generations to skate and the etiquette of how to use a skatepark safely.

The creation underneath the Dunmow bridge is a project I have seen people put in a lot of hours to make it as good is it possibly can be.

Vandalism? To a desolate piece of land under a bridge next to a dual carriageway? The fact it is being put to positive use is amazing, and it didn’t cost the taxpayer a penny for the making of it.

I have yet to skate it due to work, but hopefully shall soon and I can’t wait.

In Colchester we have three ‘home-made’ spots that all have had so much support and positive feedback (one has already had a competition), and to skateboarders it is a way of expressing creativity and creating something that we will like and be able to use and expand further from.

Most skateparks these days are either built by companies that have no idea what they are doing or are given misguided advice.

Also, the ever-growing skate community needs to create places like this – to be able to build and get stronger due to a very negative stereotype we all have to suffer due to a few ‘skateboarders’ destroying the name we struggle to keep positive.

Nothing but love for the community has been used to create this spot and furthermore it is in a area that isn’t being used for anything positive. It doesn’t affect the public or pedestrians, doesn’t damage property that is being used for a better use.

As you can see, I very much stand for the approach of ‘enterprising’.

Stefan Giovannini

Colchester

I WILL happily hold my hands up and say I have been to skate under the A120 and I absolutely love it there.

It is there not due to a lack of facilities at all. It was built as a secondary spot to go when the park in Dunmow town is unskateable – i.e. when wet or full of young children.

I would like to point at that almost 100 per cent of the tiles that have been used to build the ramps were not taken up by skateboarders.

If you were to see us skate there you would see that actually the tiles being on the bank where they originally were would have been much more productive and a lot more fun to skate than what we have used them for.

Broken or already displaced tiles are pretty much all that has been used to build the ramps.

We are all very proud of it and are willing to fight our cause to keep it.

Alex Diss

Dunmow

I WOULD like to say the park under the bridge that skaters built is a great thing.

We have skated that spot for at least five years and I am not surprised ramps and stuff got built because it’s the perfect spot.

There’s all the sand, water, rocks needed to build and it’s hidden and undercover so skaters can go there when it is wet.

The only other people that use the area are on motorbikes or in jeeps going up and down the river.

I don’t think something that is positive for so many people can be called vandalism.

Anon

I AM inclined to think that this skateboard park shows that the innovation is alive and well in the local youth.

We should be praising them for there efforts and as an engineer I am impressed by what they have done.

There is no real damage to the flyover structure unless the council possibly wish to demolish it. But why do that? They have a free skatepark now.

Paul Hanson

Dunmow

I THINK this is very enterprising. Although some damage may have been caused, the unused space has been turned into something amazing.

This has clearly taken a lot of thought, and a lot of effort has been put into it.

I have visited the official skatepark a few times, which is very good, but was always very busy, and is a no-go when wet or rainy.

This has clearly been kept quiet so that skateboarders can enjoy without worrying about the rain, or if they will collide with a scooter-rider when trying a trick. I have very strong views that this is a great use of the space.

Toby Gozzett

Inworth

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