PLANS to bring a new indoor skate park back to Stourbridge were given a £50,000 boost this week.

Former cycling champion Gavin Pardoe is working to turn an empty warehouse in Mill Race Lane into a new urban recreation centre – called Unit3sixty - for skaters, BMX-ers and scooter riders.

The project has already received £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 - and Sport England this week confirmed it will stump up £50,000 to help bring the centre to fruition.

Gavin said: “It's absolutely awesome news."

The former national time trial competitor said the money will help to ensure the facility is accessible for disabled as well as able-bodied users - and he added: "We're not going to be elitist. Extreme wheelchair users will also be coming to use the facility which is really exciting."

Applications for grants from Biffa and Charity Bank have also been submitted - and could net a further £100,000 to help get the facility off the ground.

Gavin, a firefighter based at Stourbridge Fire Station, said: "We'll have £237,000 if it all comes together which is enough. We're hoping to start building at the beginning of May and hope to get it open for the six-week school holidays.

"We've had fantastic support from our MP Margot James, who wrote to Sport England, Biffa and Charity Bank, and from Councillor Pete Lowe who also wrote letters of support and assisted us."

Consultations are currently underway with skaters, BMX-ers, scooter riders, in-line skaters and ramp builders to shape the design of the new facility – which has now been granted planning approval and which Gavin and his team hope will be one of the best skate parks in the country.

To be run as a social enterprise - it will include a world championship standard indoor skate park with latest ramps, rails and jumps; an intermediate level skate park for BMX-ers, skateboarders and scooter riders; a mini balance bike course for two to five-year-olds, a cafe and viewing gallery.

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