New £65,000 skate park due to open in Wells next week

From left to right are Sandro Jahic, George Lear and Ben Spittle, who began the campign for a skate

From left to right are Sandro Jahic, George Lear and Ben Spittle, who began the campign for a skate park to be built in Wells. - Credit: Colin Finch

A new £65,000 skate park is due to open in Wells next week, just 18 months after fund-raising began for it.

Members of the Wells Skate Park Group are amazed at the speed of progress and extremely grateful to the people of Wells who supported them.

Group chairman Anne Spittle said: 'We are absolutely delighted. We originally thought it could take four or five years to raise the money we needed when we set up the group in July 2011.

'It is incredible in this financial climate how much has been done so quickly. We have not received any big national grants, a lot of the money has been raised through local donations and we are very grateful to everyone who has supported us.

'Our treasurer Alison Bowles has been the driving force. She has done a phenomenal job.'

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The idea for the skate park, which is based on Beach Road Playing Field, came from Wells teenagers Ben Spittle, Anne's grandson, and Sandro Jahic. The project began after they made a presentation to Wells Town Council.

Town councillors Maggie Ward and Andy Gates then helped to set up Wells Skate Park Group.

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That group now includes Mrs Spittle, Ben's grandfather Geoff Spittle, Mrs Bowles, Steve Storey and Wells Police Community Support Officer Becky Taylor.

Wells Town Council contributed £13,000 towards the skate park, a £10,000 grant from North Norfolk District Council, Scira donated £5,000 and there was also an anonymous £10,000 donation from a member of the public, which has previously reported in the EDP.

Mrs Spittle said: 'The youngsters have done a lot of fund-raising themselves. And we've had so many pensioners donating money towards it as well. There's been great support all round and no negativity.'

Miss Taylor has gone into schools to talk to youngsters about the project and raise its profile.

She said: 'There is not a massive anti-social behaviour problem in Wells. Some people see groups of youngsters hanging around the town and feel intimidated. Sometimes people have the perception that they are up to no good, when they are doing absolutely nothing wrong.

'With this skate park the youngsters will have their own space and this should help to take this negative perception away.'

Ms Ward said: 'I have never felt threatened in Wells and I think young people here are a credit to the town.

'I believe this is the first skate park Wells has ever had and I'm so pleased. There is not a lot for teenagers to do in Wells and they really deserve this skate park.'

Workmen from Wheelscape have been building the skate park this week and it is due to open on Tuesday.

Mrs Spittle said: 'They have been brilliant, working outside in the snow without complaint to get the park ready.'

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