MEMBERS of the Helensburgh Skatepark Project (HSP) have expressed their disappointment at a lack of alternative arrangements as the outdoor facility was set to be removed this week.

Skatepark equipment at the pierhead site was due to be taken away on Wednesday to allow work on the new leisure centre development to continue.

Although users have been promised that the local amenity will be reinstated once work is complete, around October 2022, Argyll and Bute Council has not been able to provide a suitable alternative location for the skatepark in the interim.

And that has led to frustration for the HSP group, which launched in May 2018 in a bid to raise awareness of wheeled sports and the need for a skatepark in the town.

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A group spokesperson told the Advertiser: “Argyll and Bute Council’s programme manager has worked tirelessly with the Helensburgh Skatepark Project over the two years since the plans were approved to find a temporary location for the skatepark equipment so there would be no loss of amenity for the users.

“This has ultimately proved unsuccessful and whilst it is extremely disappointing that the town will have no skatepark for 22 months, the HSP’s position is that it wishes it to be reinstated at the pierhead.

“This will guarantee a return of the facility and allow us to work towards improving the skatepark in the future for the benefit of the town and surrounding area as per our original goal for the project.

“The HSP have warned the council that the temporary removal of the skatepark facility without providing an alternative will result in users riding elsewhere in the town, but we look forward to next year and will hold another open day on the reinstated ramps and continue our efforts to provide a skatepark that Helensburgh can be proud of.”

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Following a public consultation on the waterfront plans which revealed that there was initially no specified provision for a skatepark at the site, the HSP presented a petition to the local authority, backed by 1,800 people, calling for assurances that the facility would retain its position.

The HSP spokesperson said that the pierhead site “is the best location for the town’s skatepark as it is well served by public transport and local shops and is in a highly visible place to mitigate anti-social behaviour”.

They added that Heron Bros, the waterfront contractors, have been “extremely helpful” throughout the process and have left the skatepark equipment “as long as physically possible in its current location, for which the HSP thanks them”.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “Work is well under way on the £22m Helensburgh waterfront development with plans to include more public meeting and green space, a new leisure centre, pool and retail opportunities.

READ MORE: 'Incredible progress' at Helensburgh waterfront project site

“The development will also include plans to reinstate the skatepark equipment within the existing site once the construction works are complete.

“Working closely with the chair of the Helensburgh Skatepark Project since October 2019, the council supports their plans to improve and develop skate park facilities for young people.

“As part of the construction phase, Heron Bros require access and this means moving the skate park. Although every effort was made to find a suitable temporary location, this has not been possible.

“The waterfront development is on course to complete in 2022.”

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