The Marple Memorial Park Skatepark Development Project page on the Friends of the Park web site has been updated with the latest news, which for convenience is also repeated below.http://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk/projects/skate-park-improvements.htmlSkatepark Project Update 20 October 2014
Three calendar months have passed since the Marple Skatepark Project Team met with Skatepark Users and the council to score the three Skatepark design tenders received on 13 June. There was a very strong winner of the user group scoring process followed at the meeting on 17 July and this was also reflected in the consultation with users and the public at Marple Carnival on Saturday 21 June 2014. The remainder of the scoring process was concluded with Stockport Council on 28 July with the same tenderer being a clear winner on all fronts.
Since then we've been waiting for Stockport Council to complete their approval process so that we can start talking to the chosen tenderer, tweak his designs and get them ready for planning permission – the intent being that once we have planning permission we would submit a landfill trust grant application to try and win the balance of the money that we need to complete the project.
Unfortunately, at the moment Stockport Council seem unable to bring the approval process to a conclusion. The reason given for this is that the chosen tenderer is a relatively new company and therefore the council are seeking a parent company guarantee. This is not unusual but the council appears to be struggling to reach an agreement on it. It’s hard for us to understand why that would be as the chosen company is currently working on or recently completed seven other skateparks for six different local authorities across the country.
On 24 September we met with Ian Walmsley - the council's Greenspace Manager - and Councillor Martin Candler. Cllr Candler is Executive Member for Communities and Sustainability, which includes responsibility for all Stockport Parks and Green Spaces. It was explained that the delays are having a severe impact on the momentum of the project and we are very concerned about what we will have to do if this matter is not resolved soon in a way that allows us to move on with our plans. Cllr Candler agreed to investigate the issues and see if he can help to resolve them.
As we currently understand it, the council’s procurement and legal service providers are working to resolve the matter but we have no details of what the issues are and have been unable to obtain any indication of how much longer it will take.
We’ve held off making a formal update about the situation until now because we expected it to be resolved within a few weeks but are now in despair at the momentum that has been lost on the project and embarrassed at the delays.
We notified Skatepark Users who took part in the scoring process at the beginning of October and now feel it’s essential to tell other people taking an interest in the project what is happening too. We continue hoping that this issue will be resolved satisfactorily, allowing us to engage with the chosen contractor and move the project forward soon.
We will provide further updates when we have more news.