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Petition launched to save Ramps Skatepark after council refuses planning permission

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Skaters are fighting a decision by Swansea Council planners to refuse a change of use on an industrial unit in Fforestfach that was hoped to be transformed into a new indoor skatepark.

The plans were from the owners of the former Ramps Skatepark in Llanelli, who closed suddenly in February.

In an online statement, a spokesperson for Ramps said: “Ramps Skatepark is in a serious predicament. Until December last year we were situated in the small town of Llanelli in Wales. Due to unforeseen circumstances in the form of coronavirus, lockdowns and a massive fall in users of the facility as a result, we were forced to close our doors.

“Luckily, to our amazement, we were offered an irrefutable opportunity by a member of the community in Swansea, who saw potential and gave us a chance to replant our skatepark in a new location, not so far from our previous one, and rebuild everything without ANY overheads until the doors were open!

“It seemed too good to be true, the location is perfect and the warehouse itself is slightly larger than the one we had just vacated, no obstructions inside plus the bonus of a taller roof!

The new skatepark under construction in the industrial unit at Fforestfach (Image: Ramps Skatepark)

“We took the offer of course and began work on the new Ramps skatepark. This however is where things get tricky.

“We applied for planning permission back in January this year (2021) and everything was going perfectly, until we caught wind that maybe things didn’t look so bright for us. The change of use from an industrial until (that has had no occupant for 2+ years) to a leisure facility, has been denied.

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“We were devastated to say the least, but we persevered and put together our first appeal, which as you can probably guess, was unsuccessful.

“So that brings us to today, the skatepark itself is around 2 weeks from completion, meaning that had we not hit this roadblock, the facility would be ready for users to enjoy in 2 weeks time!

“Unfortunately this is not the case and we stand in the centre of a battle between Swansea Council and the potential loss of an amazing facility.

“That’s where you guys come in, we believe that the ONLY way the outcome of this will change, is if we raise our voices to the people that need to hear it the most. A simple acknowledgment of this petition could be enough to get the majority vote.

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“To show Swansea council that this skatepark is not just a place for kids and adults to enjoy, it’s a safe place of expression, it’s a tight community of people from all backgrounds and disciplines, it’s a place where the individual passion for a sport can grow beyond limits!

“That’s not to mention the fact that places like this have a MASSIVE positive impact on mental health, having an outlet is completely essential in the growth of young minds and the overall mental strength of people all ages.

“Who knows, we might even have the next Olympic superstar sitting right under our noses and we would never have known, their fire could be put out before it’s even lit. We strongly believe that the way action sports in general is perceived by most local councils is just shambolic, and needs to change.

“BMX freestyle and Skateboarding are now Olympic disciplines. In fact we have an athlete in BMX freestyle from this city! And still, there is essentially an Olympic training facility READY TO OPEN in Swansea, and they’re prepared to let that slip away from the community.

“We were completely and utterly heartbroken to leave our previous residents. Had this pandemic never have hit, we would still be there today. We became a very tightly held community, and if you ever had the pleasure of visiting us at our time in Llanelli, you’d know that it’s a skatepark like no other. There was something special about it, something that we wish to bring with us to our new location.

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“So this is us playing the hand we’ve been dealt, we’ve made the best of the worst possible situation, All we need now is to get those doors open and we can’t do it alone!

Please consider signing. We hope to see you all very soon! Thank you, Ramps Skatepark.”

In their rejection notice, Swansea Council planners outlined that the skatepark had failed to demonstrate the lack of demand for the current usage of the industrial unit that would justify its change of use. The proposals were also not in keeping with the council’s local development plan to ensure sustainable development and reduce travel demand.

Swansea Bay News has approached Swansea Council for comment.

Ramps Skatepark’s petition is online here.

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