Excitement as work to create new Stourbridge skatepark gets moving

L/R Phil Jones (Folkes Worton), Gavin Pardoe (Unit3Sixty), Lex Allan (Lex Allan), Mark Hodgson (QualitySolicitors Talbots). Buy photo: 241415J

L/R Phil Jones (Folkes Worton), Gavin Pardoe (Unit3Sixty), Lex Allan (Lex Allan), Mark Hodgson (QualitySolicitors Talbots). Buy photo: 241415J

First published in News

THE team behind an ambitious scheme to bring a new indoor skate park to Stourbridge have been getting wheelie excited as the project finally starts to take shape.

Stourbridge firefighter and former cycling champion Gavin Pardoe is working to turn an empty warehouse in Mill Race Lane into Unit3sixty - a new state-of-the-art urban recreation centre for skaters, BMX-ers and scooter riders.

And now after months of negotiations - he's finally got the keys to the unit which he is preparing to kit out with the latest ramps, rails and jumps to create a world championship standard indoor park.

After consultations with skaters, BMX-ers, scooter riders and in-line skaters - he has also commissioned renowned ramp builder Piers Chapman of Surrey based 9C to get cracking on the ramps in the hope of getting the facility up and running this summer.

The plan had been to open in time for the start of the school holidays but the process has taken longer than hoped to come together.

Gavin, works at Stourbridge Fire Station, said: "We're now desperately pushing for the first week in August - all being well.

"I just can't wait now. It's taken so long but we just wanted to try and get things absolutely right for all the different groups that will be using the park and we're quite confident we have done that."

He said, however, getting this far wouldn't have been possible without help and support from the Stourbridge businesses fraternity - notably finance man Phil Jones from Folkes Worton chartered accountants, Lex Allen from Lex Allen estate agents and Mark Hodgson from QualitySolicitors Talbots.

Gavin said: "Phil Jones, Lex Allen and Mark Hodgson have all been absolutely superb. As I started making enquiries all three saw it as a good thing to get involved with and they've given me help and advice to push the project forward."

Unit3sixty has also received donations of £40,000 from Dudley Council's community enterprise fund, £17,500 from borough community forums, £10,000 from public health and £20,000 from the Margaret Westwood Charity, £50,000 from Sport England and £50,000 from Charity Bank to date - to help get Unit3sixty off the ground.

The facility, which will be run as a social enterprise, will also include a mini balance bike course for two to five-year-olds, a cafe, viewing gallery, graffiti art centre, breakdance school and DJ academy.

Teaser pictures of the facility will be posted online at www.unit3sixty.com as work progresses and Gavin will be selling discounted memberships (£20 for a year) ahead of the opening - at a pop up stall in Stourbridge's Ryemarket soon.

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