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Forres Skate Park Initiative names Grant Park as preferred site for community facility

By Garry McCartney

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From left; Eva Ryder, Shaun Moat, Michael Ryder, John Ryder and Catriona Horne. ..Plans are advancing for a new Skate Park at Forres' Grant Park...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
From left; Eva Ryder, Shaun Moat, Michael Ryder, John Ryder and Catriona Horne. ..Plans are advancing for a new Skate Park at Forres' Grant Park...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

CAMPAIGNERS for a local skate park have named Grant Park as the preferred site.

Forres Skate Park Initiative (FSPI) has released a feasibility study by Inverness-based strategic, management and project consultant, Alan Jones Associates (AJA), who analysed 702 responses to an online survey proposing either Grant Park, Bogton Road, Roysvale Park or Mannachie Park for the facility.

FSPI chairman Shaun Moat confirmed 45 per cent of respondents were in favour of building it on land traditionally occupied by visiting fun fairs, close to Forres Squash Club and the Wee FIBees Garden.

He said: “Following the option appraisal and feasibility study, we held our AGM where members of the public and trustees raised issues regarding the scoring for the preferred locations.

“It was agreed that the trustees would rescore the locations with our honorary president, Alan James, whose engineering background was a great help.

“Before Christmas we went on a site visit with Moray Council officers Kim Slater, of sport and culture services, and James Hunter and Gary Speed, of parks and lands, as well as Moray councillors Lorna Creswell and George Alexander.”

FSPI are now preparing a Community Asset Transfer application. The council’s legal department will be required to investigate Grant Park’s licensing deeds. The preferred site currently has a public entertainment licence.

FSPI hope to have planning permission by spring with the skate park being built by next year.

Around £350,000 will be required to pay for the project. It is hoped that this will come from funding bodies such as sportscotland, Berry Burn Community Fund and others.

Mannachie Park was originally the preferred option of the Green Spaces User Group, a collection of organisations including Forres In Bloom (FIB) whose nursery uses electricity and water from the Grant Park kiosk and toilet block.

FIB is currently investigating the possibility of a bore hole for water at the preferred site of the skate park. It is also hoped that the play area at Grant Park will be improved with new equipment, some of which may be sited in the same place.

Mr Moat said: “When the report was completed in May, there were concerns over scoring for things such as toilets, parking, location etc.

“Areas including Mannachie were getting 50 points for amenities while Grant Park was getting 10, so we rescored it.

“There are a number of alternative locations suitable for the showies.”

He added: “We don’t see any need for trees to be cut down and we want to work with other groups on the finished look of the park with natural planting.

“We’re not looking to build a park that has a bowl.

“We’re looking at more of a street layout, similar to that seen in the Olympics.”

Copies of the Forres Skate Park Initiative feasibilty report can be requested by emailing info@forresskatepark.org.uk

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