Biggleswade skate and splash park plans are on a roll

Plans to create new leisure facilities in Biggleswade are on a roll as talks about a new water park and skate park gather momentum.

By Jo Gravett
Friday, 27th September 2019, 10:00 am

Biggleswade Town Council and Central Bedfordshire Council are working together to create a new splash park for the town, as well as a revitalised skate park.

This means that the existing skate park on Chambers Way, which closed around 18 months ago, is to be revamped, while it is yet to be decided where the splash park will be built.

Central Bedfordshire Councillor for Biggleswade North, Steven Watkins, told the Chronicle: “We have a very good local group [Biggleswade Splash Park Committee], who have campaigned for a splash park for a couple of years.

The opening of Dunstable Splash Park in 2017. Credit: John Chatterley.

“There are similar facilities in Dunstable and Letchworth, and we are at a size now where we can justify such a facility.

“I can’t see any logical reason for choosing Chambers Way or Franklin’s Park as sites, because you are going to get people from Biggleswade, as well as places such as Dunton and Hitchin; we can’t sustain that level of transport in the town.

“I think the east of town, where development is in the pipeline, would be a natural fit. However, CBC has not ruled anything out.”

Cllr Watkins added that CBC would be investing capital into the project, and then eventually the Town Council would run it and take on the maintenance and day-to-day costs.

He added: “There could probably be a cafe to generate some cash, and I know Dunstable has an adventure playground near its splash park, something that can be used all year round. The next steps are to secure a parcel of land, begin a consultation, and make sure the project is managed properly.”

Meanwhile, two public meetings are being held by CBC in conjuction with the town council about the new skate park planned for Chambers Way.

There is a ‘rider’s design’ meeting with Russ from design company, Maverick, on October 1, 6pm-8pm, at the Orchard Community Centre, Sullivan Court.

Russ will “go through some initial ideas” and would then like to work with the public to identify key requirements and create a draft outline design.

This will then be turned into a first draft design by Maverick, before being shared for further comments at a public engagement event on October 23 (time and venue to be confirmed).

In December, CBC’s Executive committee approved £200,000 from its capital budget to fund the replacement. CBC has suggested a lease of 25 years for Biggleswade Town Council, but it has not been formally offered.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: “Following public consultation earlier in the year, plans for the new skate park are progressing well. “We have appointed a specialist company to lead on its development and are planning meetings with riders and the community over the coming weeks.

“Our expectation is that the new facility will be open in the spring.

“Plans for the splash park, whilst less advanced, are continuing with appropriate sites and funding options being actively explored.”