Outline plans have been submitted to Swindon Council for the North Star leisure park including a ski centre, a 5,000 capacity arena, skate park, a cinema and a bowling alley.
Moirai Capital Investments are seeking approval for their 31 acre (12.5ha) leisure development which will be built adjacent to and around the newly refurbished Oasis Leisure Centre at North Star.
But although the outline plans mention a skate park – at the moment it is not clear whether it will be a free to use outdoor one to replace the current facility on the site or an indoor paid-for one.
A campaign to save the free outdoor facility has been launched by Diana Kirk of ATBSkate Warehouse at Hawksworth but she believes that their pleas are being ignored as it appears on the plans that it will be an indoor site. You can sign the petition, which so far has over 1,o00 signatures at: www.bit.ly/oasis-skate
She said: “We’re going to keep on fighting to make sure that there are the free facilities in place for the huge number of young people who use the outdoor skate park. A lot of the users are from deprived backgrounds and would not be able to afford a paid for indoor park.
“I’m disappointed that there’s nothing in the plans to suggest that the existing free outdoor facility will be safeguarded; we will keep making a loud noise until they are.”
On 11 July Diana and her husband Stuart attended the National Adventure Sports Show at Shepton Mallett where skateboarding legend Tony Hawk signed the Swindon petition. Read Diana’s blog about meeting Tony Hawk at NASS. She’s pictured right with Tony Hawk.
She said: “He’s an incredibly talented guy in the worldwide skateboard community, both a fantastic skater and a wonderfully nice person. He’s set up a foundation –www.tonyhawkfoundation.org – which supports local campaigns to open free outdoor skate parks and apply for grants. It explains why local skateparks are good for communities.
“He just couldn’t believe it when we told him Swindon could be about to build on top of and get rid of our free outdoor skatepark. We were taken aback that he signed our petition straight away, it’s fantastic that he supports us”
“Stuart and I are extremely passionate about making sure kids have a safe place to skate. We set up ATBShop Skate Warehouse as there wasn’t a good enough skate spot in Swindon for the riders to use. Now the council are on about taking away the Oasis free outdoor skate park near the town centre to replace it with a grassy area, which is just a massive insult to the skating population of Swindon.”
The plans submitted by Moirai include:
• Up to 50,000 square metres of mixed leisure including a cinema, 5,000 seat entertainment arena, ski centre and other leisure uses which could include a crazy golf centre, comedy club, laser tag and skate park;
• Up to 12,000sqm of restaurants and cafes
• Up to 12,000sqm retail space, with a minimum of 9,000sqm of sports retailing;
• Up to 9,000sqm for a hotel.
The vast £120 million leisure scheme will be one of the largest projects of its type in the UK.
Moirai chairman Martin Barber said: “This is a crucial step in the process of delivering this major development. Getting to this point has been complex, with consideration given to the best possible layout for the project, but also to address issues such as traffic management and the potential environmental impact of the development.”
Coun Garry Perkins, Swindon Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration & Skills said: “The application represents another step in this exciting project. I am satisfied that now Moirai have put together a proposal that matches the council’s ambitions; I look forward to hearing more as they get closer to turning these plans into a reality .
“These are only the outline plans and until we see the detailed ones it is difficult to say what form the skate park will take, but at least it is part of the plans at the moment.”
It is believed that many visitors to the facility will arrive by train, as Swindon’s station is only a short distance away. Forward Swindon has completed a feasibility study for a new pedestrian crossing over the mainline, adjacent to the station, connecting the north and south parts of the town centre. Seeking funding for the crossing is the next stage.
Chris Hitchings, director of development at Forward Swindon, said: “Swindon is well connected to a huge, affluent catchment. The arena and ski centre, for example, will provide Swindon with high profile destinations to compete with the likes of Cardiff, Bristol and Milton Keynes.”
Pictured, Diana Kirk with Tony Hawk signing the Swindon petition. Source: ATBShop Skate Warehouse. Below, Swindon skater Billy Steinman using the skatepark outside the Oasis Leisure Centre. Bottom, Tony Hawk at NASS