Skatepark plans ready for take-off

Russ Crichton, right, with BSG committee member Bruce Skinner
Russ Crichton, right, with BSG committee member Bruce Skinner

Plans for a new skatepark in Banchory are getting off the ground.

It comes after the Marr area committee supported the leasing of land at the town’s Bellfield Park to Banchory Skatepark Group (BSG).

The park has an existing ramp but BSG officials want to replace it with a top-class facility for skateboards, scooters and BMXs.

It is on “common good” land which means that BSG will have a seek a sheriff’s permission for the lease.

BSG chairman Russ Crichton told the Piper: “We need to do a feasibility study and we have just been awarded £10,000 from Awards for All.

“The study goes as supporting documentation to the sheriff. It will outline who is going to use it, how it will operate, costs and who will benefit from it. It records community support.”

The father-of-three, whose sons aged 13. 12 and 10 all use the current ramp, believes the new facility will be a major boost for the community.

He said: “Banchory is not well served with facilities so this is something I think we and other parents can do to put a nice, modern, landscaped skatepark here.”

BSG is aiming to raise a minimum of £150,000 for the new development and believes that £200,000 would get an “amazing” facility.

The funds would be raised through grant applications, Lottery funding and through other local sources.

Local Councillor Eileen Durno hopes the community will get behind the project.

She said: “I was really struck by their enthusiasm and the willingness to pursue an ambition of making a dream into a reality.

“I thought it was a great idea, and an asset which will be free to use by the skate/scooter/BMX enthusiasts not just from within the community, but has the potential to attract enthusiasts from far and wide, which will hopefully bring a higher footfall to our high street shops and benefit the local economy.”

Ben Kilner, local Olympian snowboarder, has offered to join the committee to offer his expertise.

Russ, himself a skateboarder, said: “What we want is something that is good for beginners, good for intermediates and good for the advanced.

“We’ve had some fantastic skateboarders who have come out of the North-east and have gone on to be professional and hopefully this facility can do the same.”

The group is inviting people to a ‘Jam Competition’ at the Bellfield Park ramp on Saturday, June 30, from 1-3pm which follows the success of a similar event last year.