A £250,000 skatepark in the west of the Capital is set to be given the go-ahead after it was recommended for approval by city planners.
The proposal to build the facility in Easter Drylaw Park, which would include concrete ramps, open areas and rhythm sections, has been welcomed by local residents as an urgently needed upgrade to an area, which they said was under-used and starved of investment.
The application comes after a group of skateboarding youngsters from the area, tired of making bus trips across the city to attend Edinburgh’s only dedicated facility at Saughton Skatepark, banded together to back the proposal, which was awarded £40,000 towards its £250,000 target by the Inverleith Neighbourhood Partnership.
Alex Dale, local resident and chair of Drylaw and Telford community council, said: “As far as I and the community council are concerned, this is positive and we are in full favour of the facility in Drylaw Park.
“There have never really been any proper facilities in the park. The council put that bike and BMX facility in there but no money was put into it and it just became overgrown and not used. So we welcome this as something for the young kids round about here.”
Mr Dale also sought to alleviate concerns over increased levels of noise, crime and anti-social behaviour at the skatepark, which under current plans would not be lit and so unlikely to be used at night. CCTV has not been proposed but planning officials noted it could be installed at a later date.
Mr Dale said: “The police did highlight crime and anti-social behaviour when the plans were at an earlier stage. But we will not be overly advertising the park to people from outside the local area – we see it more as a park and facility for the community here in Drylaw and Telford. However, we are aware that people from outside areas might want to come along to it. But there has been next to no crime at Saughton as far as we know and I can’t see that happening at Drylaw either.”
He added: “This plan was brought to us by the community, for the community, and we do not have so many concerns about increased vandalism or gangland fights at the park after this is built.”
The teenagers backing the proposal carried out extensive consultation, with local community councillors, of residents whose houses back on to the park.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Labour member for Inverleith, said: “These young people are to be applauded for their efforts. Community involvement doesn’t rank too high in the minds of today’s youth so for these guys to get so heavily involved is great. At least with this facility you know it will be used, as there has been input from its intended users the whole way through.”