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The Skatepark project

The project is a joint effort between three Parish Councils, Wrotham, Borough Green and St Mary's Platt. Funding was provided by the three PCs and Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. The groundwork was laid by Trodell Plant, and steel for the frames by Henry Cooch & Son and Kentinental Engineering. The project is being overseen by structural engineers Gary Gabriel Associates, and Ron Leonard is our H&S adviser. All these businesses have donated their services. What makes our skatepark unique is that the skateboarders themselves are involved in planning and building the park.



After over a year of delays, on the 24th September 2005, the Skatepark opened.

On a warm, sunny, perfect autumn day, the skatepark was officially opened by the Mayor of Tombridge and Malling, Cllr Derek Still, and hordes of skateboarders, bladers and BMXers poured onto the skatepark. At that moment, the concert organised by Chris Smith of KobraKai started at full bore, and seven local young rock bands provided music until 6.15 when the headline band, KobraKai took to the stage, and brought the day to a rousing end at 7pm.

To see the young skateboarders dreams turn to reality made all the sweat and tears worthwhile.

Since this picture was taken, new handrails have been fitted to all the jumps, extra equipment has been added, and the fencing and hedging has been completed by Ian and his men from SOUTHERN COUNTIES FENCING.

  Skateboarding - It Ain't no Fad!!!!!

Notes for Authority only, not to be read by skateboarders!

Skateboarding used to be a seasonal fad like conkers and Hula-Hoops, but with the upsurge in extreme sports coverage on TV, kids who couldn't tell you the capital of France can tell you the names of the top ten pro-skateboarders in the world. They will spend literally hours practising "ollies" and "kick-flips". It gives good exercise, builds friendship and team spirit, and provides the element of risk that young males need to develop into fully rounded individuals. The normal benefits to a community of building a skatepark are magnified here because it is bonding the youth of three separate villages together in a common purpose, and even more importantly has shown that three neighbouring parishes can also work together.

Testing Ramps and Jumps

As elements of the park were built, skateboarders tested each piece in the forecourt of the Brands Hatch Morgan Dealers, on Sundays, attracting skateboarders and BMXers from all three villages. The design was modified as we went, and subsequently retested on the next weekend.

We also used these occasional trials days as an opportunty to discuss and alter plans for the main park.

Technical Details.

The design for the ramps was stolen in the dead of night from other skateparks using torch and ruler, but our ramps are unique in that we are using Wire-faced Phenolic coated hardwood ply for the skating surfaces. Phenolic Ply is totally waterproof, so does not suffer from the algae damage and surface friability of marine ply, and also costs about 30% less than "proprietary" surface boards. Phenolic ply is used extensively in the haulage industry for trailer and truck floors and is immensly hardwearing, our local supplier is E.E.Olley of Dartford. It can be supplied in 6mm and 18mm 8x4 sheets.

The frames are all welded 50x50x3mm mild steel box and angle, and we have used 50x5mm flat for quarter pipes formers, which gives an element of flexibility that makes the surfaces easier to ride.

Where we are Now:

The skatepark has been open for two years now, and as yet, touch wood, has had no vandalism. We have visitors from all over Kent and S London. Whilst we don't have any very big ramps to suit professionals, it is regarded as a very good park for average and learners, with a range of difficulties for novices to start with right up to those to tax the better skater. We will be opening a new website for those who may want to follow our example, with a lot more technical detail.

Graffiti has been allowed, even encouraged on the park, and has lead to an almost total disappearance of "vandal graffiti".

Test Pilots!

Tim, Ross and Tony testing the dropping-in potential of a four-foot quarter pipe. This was the prototype, and we discovered that although it could be ridden, it was a tad steep, so was modified. The frame on this first rampdeck section was 5mm box, but proved very heavy, and comparison with subsequent decks built out of 3mm box shows no noticeable loss of strength and rigidity. Even at 3mm we are over engineering.

Apologies to Matt Groening

We are all keen Simpsons fans, and many of Matt Groenings images convert easily to skateboarding images. Here Jo McCallion and Jade Bruce paint a flat-bank back-board. The skatepark will be arranged with good graphics like this facing the road, dark green unpaintable surfaces facing the public areas of the field, but smooth white surfaces out of sight of the public where the "scribblers" can work to their heart's content.