When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Borough mayor tried out the new facility
THE borough’s mayor proved he was up for a challenge when he officially opened a £90,000 BMX park in Chineham.
Councillor Martin Biermann donned a cycle helmet and tried out the new facility, which has taken five years to come to fruition. BMX rider Dan Harris impressed onlookers with stunts on the new ramps, before Cllr Biermann had a go with his own bike. Unfortunately, the mayor failed to amaze spectators, and ended up falling off as he attempted to ride up a ramp. Despite his tumble, the first citizen was still impressed with the new park.
He said: “There was one here before but it was a hang-about area as much as it was a skate park. This refurbishment is almost too good because it has the whole of Basingstoke coming to use it and is extremely popular. Obviously, we have done it right.”
Plans to build the park in Thornhill Way were initially put on hold after the borough council feared it would cause too much noise. But Chineham Parish Council pointed out that the nearby A33 would generate more noise than users of the park.
Eventually, the plans were given the go-ahead, with the money coming from developer contributions. Cllr Biermann said: “The young people played a large part in the design. They said the previous park had rubbish equipment so we asked what they would like and held several workshops and exhibitions.”
Mr Harris, 23, from Sherborne St John, who is a ventilation engineer, said: “It gets used greatly now. They have put in better ramps. It’s taken a few years but it’s worth the wait. On a daily basis, there are at least 25 people using it.”
Although the project took five years in total, the actual construction lasted just a few weeks. There were problems at the former park with people vandalising it with graffiti, so councillors are arranging for the ramps to be decorated with professional street art, to deter others from spraying their own designs.
Chris Tomblin, chair of Chineham Parish Council, said: “It’s a great facility and there’s a lot of interest in it from around the borough. It’s better used now because it’s more fun.”