Today in clandestine fashion I met with Jordan Rogers, chairman of the Sittingbourne Skatepark Fund, in a car park to do a video interview, where we were able to take a sneaky peek at the new site.
Jordan Rogers who is just 17 years old and is currently studying engineering at Canterbury College, should be an inspiration to us all. Taking on a project like this and driving it forward over a period of several years would defeat the best of us, and yet the progress made in the last two years is significant.
The fund, originally set up in October 2011, has grown to a very healthy £50,000 with the prospect of a further £20,000 contribution in the not too distant future. This would then be match funded by other organisations to reach an estimated £250,000 to £300,000 total build cost.
The land for the proposed park is an area of ‘Lloyds Wharf’ behind the Sittingbourne Retail Park which it is one day hoped would link up with the Milton Creek Country Park forming a continuous stretch of public open space. It is understood that Essential Land whom purchased the 19 acre former Sittingbourne Mill site from M-Real for £5.65 million have consented to Swale Borough Council taking ownership of the land required for the skate park.
Working in partnership with Groundwork, an organisation that helps to turn unloved, bleak grey areas into something that will change lives, it is hoped that the project will reach outline planning in the next few months.
Even though I applied pressure, Jordan wouldn’t be drawn on a precise timescale, having perhaps been subject to past missed deadlines, although this certainly looks very encouraging. I sincerely hope that the project is forthcoming sooner than later, and just maybe this could be the first part of the long overdue start of the town centre regeneration plans.
Find out more by visiting their website www.sittingbourneskate.co.uk
or their Facebook site