Skatepark that 'transformed' derelict area to be locked up

Kingston DIY Community Skatepark was founded in 2020 after a group of skates started using the spot under the M8 motorway bridge.

Kingston DIY Community Skatepark that ‘transformed’ derelict Glasgow area to be locked up Supplied

A community built skatepark in Glasgow is facing closure over concerns about anti-social behaviour.

Kingston DIY Community Skatepark, based under the M8 motorway bridge, was founded by a group of friends in 2020 and built using materials bought through crowdfunding.

Since then, it has become world-renowned, with some of the biggest names in the sport coming to visit and that was featured in the popular skating magazine, Thrasher.

However, it now faces being fenced off after Amey Consulting, which maintains the local roads for Transport Scotland, raised concerns about anti-social behaviour.

Founders Stuart Ramage, Ben Dean, Roan Ballatine and Tam Limbrey have launched a petition in a bid to save the park which they say has become a hub for the local community.

Kingston DIY Community Skatepark was founded in 2020.Supplied

They described the decision as a “blow to the community” adding that the skatepark has transformed the previously derelict area into a hub of positive activity and has actually reduced anti-social behaviour.

“You’re obviously never going to have an area free of anti-social behaviour, but since skates have been using it there’s been less and less anti-social behaviour going on,” Mr Ramage said.

Kingston DIY Community Skatepark.Supplied

The 29-year-old founded the skatepark after he and his friends struggled to find somewhere to skate when it rained.

“When we found the spot, it seemed to be derelict, so we decided to build a small ledge to skate,” he said.

“We were using the area for a couple of weeks before more people started turning up, and from there we set up a page where people could donate so we could build more things”.

The project reached well beyond the local skating community with other residents organising a community garden as well as litter-picks to keep the area clean.

The project reached well beyond the local skating community with other residents organising litter-picks to keep the area clean.Supplied

Mr Ramage said the project has also helped youngsters in the area by giving them a place to “express themselves”.

“It’s so important that these kids have safe spaces to go, and enjoy the sport. It can be hard to open up when you’re younger but skating and having this space can give them a place to go and let themselves go.”

He added: “With building new pieces for the park, we always open it to volunteers, we get experienced builders in and we all get to learn valuable DIY skills.”

Mr Ramage said they were given no warning about the closure before being sent an email informing them of the decision.

To help fight the closure a petition against the plans has been launched and has gained over 3,309 signatures with hundreds of new names being added daily.

The founders are also conversing with locals MPs in hopes of saving the park.

Amey Consulting, the company that maintains local roads for Transport Scotland has told the group that the area will be fenced off due to “anti-social” behaviour and cited issues such as vandalism, unsolicited graffiti, fire-raising, drug use and littering of drug paraphernalia.

However, the skaters say they are not to blame and believe that anti-social behaviour has been “reduced” in the area thanks to the project.

A spokesperson for Amey said: “Amey has a duty of care to ensure these areas are kept clean, tidy, and safe for use for all road users, and while our patrols do all they can to monitor these areas they cannot provide an effective overall solution.

“To tackle these problems, we are erecting additional fencing, which includes the area used by the DIY skate park.

“However, we have been in contact with the skate park organisers to make it clear that we understand that we do not attribute these anti-social behaviours with DIY skate park users.

“Amey have informed DIY Skate Park that we remain open to continued conversations about this matter, while acknowledging that the that the safety and upkeep of these sections of the trunk road remains paramount.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in