In November 2018 HBC arranged an initial community consultation at Hayling Community Centre with skatepark users and local residents in order to feel out whether there was any interest in getting a new skatepark built to replace the old one which was falling apart.
The meeting was run by the HBC communities team, who are responsible for the play parks and other public facilities in the Havant Borough.
The event was pretty low key and not well advertised, but still around 12 skateboarders aged 20 – 38 turned up, along with several local residents, one teenage scooter user and his grandad Richard.
HBC briefed us on the state of the current skatepark which is very badly rusted, becoming unsafe to use and no longer cost effective to maintain. They also explained that the provision of skateparks (and play parks) is not mandatory for the council, which is why there is no public money available to fund a replacement, so any new park would have to be funded by other means.
There was a fair bit of heated debate about previous discussions with HBC about skatepark upgrades which didn’t materialise and also Norse got a lot of flack for their part in the spine replacement fiasco, as well as regularly painting over the coping and mounting the transition surfaces incorrectly.
That said, the HBC team seemed sincere in their pledge to support us with any community campaign for a new skatepark and have been successful in helping other groups secure money and obtain planning to get projects like this done in the past, so we were grateful for their support.