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Swansea skateboarders give positive feedback about new Mumbles Skatepark

Callum Renshaw, 22, at Mumbles Skatepark, Swansea (pic by Richard Youle)

CALLUM Renshaw has been skateboarding for 10 years but hadn’t checked out the still-new Mumbles Skatepark before this week.

And the 22 year-old was pretty impressed. “There’s stuff I have not seen before in other skate parks, and there’s a variety of obstacles,” he said.

“The only thing I’ve found is that it is a bit ‘slippery’. Other than that it’s a great park, although I can’t say what it’s like at peak time.

“The guys who built it, Mavericks (Maverick Skateparks), I’ve been to a few of theirs and they’re good.”

Callum lives in Treboeth, around six miles away, and said he used to skate the previous mini half-pipe which pre-dated the larger polished concrete facility.

The new one cost just over £460,000, including planning and legal fees, and opened in rather low-key fashion in February after five years of planning, delays and construction. It has been funded by Mumbles Community Council – with £271,000 of National Lottery support – and an official opening takes place on Saturday, June 10.

Skateboarder Aaron Skyrme, of Morriston, said he used Mumbles Skatepark three or four times a week. “I think it’s great, and it’s about time there was somewhere to go,” said the 16-year-old. “It’s laid out really well – a lot of thought has gone into it.”

Aaron Skyrme, 16, at Mumbles Skatepark, Swansea (pic by Richard Youle)

George Hendy, 12, of Bridgend, said: “I would give it an eight out of 10. It’s really smooth.”

George was there with his grandfather Tony Hatch, also of Bridgend, who said: “I think it’s a really good facility. We never had these when I was a kid. There’s a small one near us, in Porthcawl, but not like this.”

One father, however, who was with his son, said he felt the skate park was intimidating and that he had seen drugs being used. The man, who asked not to be named, said: “The language is awful. It’s completely inappropriate for children. More and more people from the locality are saying the same things.”

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Barry and Kelly Whittle, of Glais, who were keeping an eye on their skateboarding daughter, were visiting the skate park for the first time.

“We’ve always wanted to come here,” said Mr Whittle. “I think it’s great for the area. They need more of these.”

Mrs Whittle said she felt the skate park blended in well with its surroundings. “There’s still greenery around – it’s not impacted massively,” she said.

Councillor Chris Evans, whose Mayals ward incorporates the skate park, said the new addition to the seafront was very popular in the main.

He added: “We have had quite a few parking complaints, up in Llwynderw Drive. We’re looking to put down some yellow lines.”

Jason Williams, chairman of Mumbles Skatepark Association, which lobbied and raised funds for the project, said the skate park had exceeded expectations.

“I think it’s the mix of user groups, age groups, boys and girls, lots of families – it’s everything we could have dreamt of,” he said. “It has been so long coming, there’s still so much excitement.”

Mr Williams said some older skateboarders got a session in before going to work in the morning, and that he was aware of a family who chose to come on holiday to Swansea ahead of Devon because of the skate park. “It’s become a draw,” he said.

Carrie Townsend Jones, chairwoman of Mumbles Community Council, said more picnic benches would be installed, and that remaining fencing would come down before the June 10 grand opening, which will feature competitions, rider demonstrations and music.

She said: “I don’t think I have spoken to a single person who doesn’t say, ‘It’s amazing.’ Some people do say it’s in the wrong place but there are less and less of those.”

The project received considerable public support but there was opposition on the grounds of its proximity to busy Mumbles Road, access, and the lack of toilets.

Swansea Council has allocated £1 million for an expected two additional skate parks in the county. A mapping exercise looking at potential sites is under way.

For skateboarder Callum, more skate parks would get his backing. “It would be a great thing to do – whether it’s going to be done is a different thing,” he said.