A survey and study focussing on the provision of a skate park in Forres has concluded that it has overwhelming support.
Ninety-nine per cent of 702 people surveyed said they supported the building of a skate park in Forres.
The survey was commissioned by the Forres Skate Park Initiative (FSPI), which has recently been formed into a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).
The survey also showed the group that the favoured location for the facility was Grant Park, which received 45% of the votes from four options which also included Roysvale Park, Bogton Road and Mannachie Park.
FSPI chairman Shaun Moat said: “Following a feasibility and option appraisal report we commissioned last year and an online survey of over 700 responses we started looking at two locations, Mannachie Playing Fields and Grant Park.
“We ruled out Roysvale due to it being the location for the all weather football pitch and after consulting with this group the area wasn’t big enough for both to be situated. Bogton Road was the only area that Moray Council wouldn’t confirm if it was contaminated or not so it would involve us commissioning bore holes and a cost that we didn’t feel was viable.
“Grant Park is our preferred location and we have now started the process of submitting a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) to look at the legal side of Grant Park and If we can lease the area that is currently zoned for the twice-a-year visiting fun fair.”
The corner of Grant Park being suggested is the eastern end between the play park and squash club, and previously used by the travelling fun fair.
The cost of building the park has been estimated at £350,000 which compares to others at Hopeman, Inverness and Kelso. He says there are a number of funds which can be applied to for the purpose of raising money to fulfil the project.
He added: “We are looking to build a street-style skate park so not your typical bowl. This is similar to that seen in the Tokyo Olympics last year. The reason to move away from a bowl type park is that it limits the number of users at one time and that we are wanting to build a park for all abilities to use.
Mr Moat pointed to a small number of people against the development in Grant Park but countered it with the overwhelming support of the those surveyed and the additional support from MPs, councillors and police representatives.
Working together with other park users
“We are aware that there is a small number of the public who will be against Grant Park for the Skate Park but we want to work with all users of the park such as Forres in Bloom, Cricket Club, Highland Games, Forres Harriers to name a few to ensure that we all can make use of the park.
“We feel this location is the best in Forres for parking, toilets, access, security and safety. The area of the park is only ever used twice a year for the fun fair and wouldn’t compromise the use of the park for large scale events.
“Children are always getting a bad name and that skate parks are going to bring further anti-social behaviour but this is not the case in the skate parks across Moray and the Highlands. The users of the parks feel a sense of belonging and self-police behaviours that are not acceptable such as littering, vandalism, drugs and alcohol. The old users help the young users to learn how to skate and these parks have their own community.”