Ocean Terminal's Transgression Skatepark in Edinburgh to close at the end of July leaving skating community 'devastated'
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The founder of a popular Edinburgh skate park has announced it will close its doors at the end of July, leaving local skateboarders and BMX riders with no indoor facilities in the Capital.
The closure of Transgression Park comes after landlords, Ocean Terminal, agreed a long-term lease with Club 3000 Bingo (currently in Manderston Street) who are set to open a ‘state-of-the-art bingo club’ next year in the 27,500 sq ft ground floor unit.
Skate park founder, Ken Smith, announced the news earlier in the month, thanking the skatepark’s ‘wonderful customers’ who ‘helped create a unique community space that is self-sustained and not for profit.’ Mr Smith also thanked Ocean Terminal for their support to create a ‘thriving community space.’
Speaking to the Evening News, Mr Smith said the news comes as a tremendous loss for his loyal customer base. He said: “They’re pretty devastated. We deal with kids from five years-old all the way to middle-aged adults and at the moment we don’t have anywhere to go, so it’s a bit of a downer for everyone and a blow to everyone who uses the place.”
Mr Smith, who had previously launched three successful skate parks in Edinburgh, including one at Ocean Terminal several years ago, moved into the former British Home Store unit in 2017, transforming the space into a state-of-the-art facility for BMX riders, skateboarders and roller bladers. With no other indoor skate parks located in Edinburgh, the site quickly developed a loyal customer base with Mr Smith including an adjacent disco-themed roller rink for a skating community that also ‘didn’t have a home.’
He said: “Every city needs skate park provisions, in Scotland we have lots of fantastic outdoor facilities but not necessarily the climate for it. We’ve lost a lot of indoor parks in Britain over the last few years – the pandemic took a few down, the economy has taken a few down so only the well-established ones are doing well, all the non-profit ones are holding on at the moment.”
Mr Smith, who runs the facility with his partner said: “We’re devastated but we have always been here on a hope and a prayer in many ways – the building has always been on the market for a new tenant and we knew that someday, someone would need this space and we would have to vacate so it’s not been a big surprise.”
He added: “We’ve had an incredible deal here that was based on our turnover. So during the pandemic when we weren’t turning anything over - we weren’t paying anything so we were able to survive. So Ocean Terminal have been really supportive as a landlord and they have also been visionary in making this happen in the first place.”
The skate park’s closure now makes it more difficult for Edinburgh’s skaters and riders to hone their craft without relocating further afield, and with BMX and skateboarding now Olympic sports, the shortage of facilities puts Scottish athletes at a disadvantage.
Mr Smith said: “You see what happens when you have good facilities, like Unit 23 in Dumbarton. Some of the kids that go there regularly have their faces on Red Bull cans – they’re competing at global level, one of them was the first Scotsman to win a medal at the X-games – they’re superstars because they have the facilities.”
Despite not knowing what the future holds for the skate park, Ken Smith left disappointed customers with an optimistic message. Writing on the company website he said: “This may be an end but it is not the end. Transgression Park and Boardwalk will be back with a fresh project and we look forward to seeing you all there in the near future.”