A campaign has been launched to make sure that a free skatepark is part of the proposals for the redevelopment of land at the Oasis.
In March revamped plans were revealed by developers Morai that will see a ski slope, a 5,000 capacity arena, a multi-screen cinema, a 10 pin bowling alley and a hotel on the North Star site, next to the Oasis Leisure Centre.
But Diana Kirk, who runs ATBSkate Warehouse at Hawksworth, believes there is no specification in the plans to keep the free open air skatepark that is currently on the site and has launched an online petition.
She said: “It doesn’t look much, but the Oasis outdoor skatepark is the best in Swindon which people can use for free. There’s always been one at the Oasis since it was built in 1976, but but so far the plans show no free outdoor skatepark, BMX track or cycle speedway.
“Children and adults from different walks of life centre come together daily to use this skatepark.
“Some will argue that this skatepark is an embarrassment to Swindon compared with what other much smaller towns and villages provide, but it’s what Swindon has to offer and it needs protecting, saving and hopefully improving for future generations.”
There are smaller skateparks in Haydon Wick and Walcot, and work starts on one in West Swindon at the end of June.
Bobby Rach, property consultant at Moirai Capital, said: “We have not at this stage concluded our activity list within the new North Star leisure development, as we are shortly to submit an outline planning application to Swindon Borough Council for leisure, sport retail and restaurant/bar uses.
“This anticipated planning approval will allow us the allocation of uses so that we can then develop a more detailed leisure scheme appraisal.
“We have been approached by operator(s) looking to create an indoor skate park in a safe environment within a high ropes and climbing centre, which we will review once we receive further details of the concept, plans and operations.”
Ms Kirk believes that the skatepark would need to be free as most young people would not be able to afford a paid-for one.
She said: “There are far better free skateparks in Cirencester, Faringdon and Marlborough, so we need to safeguard what we have in Swindon, otherwise there will be nowhere for skaters to go.”
To lend support to the campaign, contact Diana at ATBShop on 01793 523244.