Thanet councillors asked to approve Cliftonville site for use as skatepark

Plans to build a skatepark on a derelict crazy golf centre are set to be decided by councillors.

There have long been calls for the facility in Ethelbert Crescent, Cliftonville, in one of the most deprived wards in Margate.

Ethelbert Terrace, Cliftonville, pictured here in 2014 following the demolition of the DIY skatepark. Picture: Matt Bristow
Ethelbert Terrace, Cliftonville, pictured here in 2014 following the demolition of the DIY skatepark. Picture: Matt Bristow

The proposal would see the park built on the site of a derelict crazy golf course, where residents came together to build a DIY skatepark called the Little Oasis in 2013.

Back then Thanet District Council (TDC) deemed it a safety hazard and had it flattened in March 2014 - and it has been left unused since.

But the local authority's director of regeneration has now asked for the site's use for a skatepark to be approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Most of the cash for the proposals will come from the £22m Margate Town Deal, awarded by the government last year.

The project is sponsored by Margate Skateboard Club (MSC), headed by Dan Cates and Nic Powley.

Nic Powley (pictured) is heading Margate Skateboard Club with Dan Cates
Nic Powley (pictured) is heading Margate Skateboard Club with Dan Cates

Speaking last year, Mr Powley - a founding member of Skateboard GB - said he believes future stars could discover their talent on the half-pipes of the new Thanet facility.

He said: "There's absolutely no reason why the next Olympic champion for GB skateboarding couldn't be from Cliftonville. No reason."

The initial bid for the skatepark was £1 million following a quote from a construction company - with an offer from the Margate Town Deal board being £750,000.

MSC confirmed £100,000 match-funding from Margate-based artist Tracey Emin, and there is £59,000 in the district council's capital programme.

A fundraising plan is also being put together by the project sponsors.

The Little Oasis site pictured here in 2020. Picture: Callier Epps
The Little Oasis site pictured here in 2020. Picture: Callier Epps

A community interest company is being established to manage the skatepark with the council set to grant a lease at nil rent for 20 years.

It will include obligations to repair and maintain the park and its facilities, meet health and safety requirements, and mitigate potential operational and usage risks.

At a cabinet meeting in September 2019, councillors approved the site should be available for disposal and not for development.

The council would potentially be forgoing an annual rent of about £10,000 - £15,000 or possible sale proceeds of £100,000 - £150,000 if plans to lease it are approved.

Other skate parks have been built by the council in the past, including Hartsdown skate park which has been standing since 1976.

Share this story

Helpful links

© KM Group 2022