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Issue 347 – New skate park for Mary Baily Playing field

A NEW skate park, climbing equipment, and shelter has been approved for the Mary Baily Playing Field.

The town council has approved plans to spend £60,000 obtained from the development of the Slipps nursery site on improving the park.
The new skate park will provide a much improved facility for skaters, many who currently travel to parks outside the town. The ramp will have a steel frame with a synthetic riding surface, chosen to be both hard-wearing and quiet, and will be provided by Blandford company Evolution Skate Ramps.
Jo Fletcher of the Frome Skatepark Association said, “We’re very excited about it, it does mean that all our children who have had to go elsewhere to ride will have a decent size ramp to strut their stuff on locally! The kids have had a very very substandard facility for a long time, so we’ve achieved our objective of providing something reasonable for them.”
The association has carried out research in their efforts to get more facilities for the town, surveying secondary school age children. “We know there are at least 500 children who regularly use skate parks and some have been going elsewhere, and what’s more that’s all money lost when they spend money on snacks and drinks.”
The town council is spending around £34,000 on the skate park. While the association is pleased with the funding, it will continue to fundraise to get more facilities for the town.
Jo said, “Our plan is to develop a second facility towards the other side of the town, and we will be fundraising accordingly.
“The kids have been very poorly represented over the last five years. Glastonbury has a £90,000 skate park, Shepton Mallet’s was built in 2004 at £50,000, Midsomer Norton has an £800,000 one. It’s a costly business, but decent quality stuff isn’t cheap.”
The funds for the Mary Baily Playing Field will also provide a new climbing frame for those over 8 years old, which will be added next to the existing play equipment. The climbing frame has been designed with natural play principles in mind, and will be made out of natural materials sourced in the UK.
Money for a shelter has also been approved for the park, although the design is yet to be approved. A second shelter will also be installed in Victoria Park near the band stand. The town council hopes that the shelters will provide a meeting point for young people to use, pointing to evidence that suggests they can reduce anti-social behaviour.
The town council considered the plans earlier this year but postponed the decision until they had more information and evidence of how best to use the money.