AT LAST! Planning permission for Marple Skatepark Phase II has been granted!
The planning application submitted in December last year was finally granted by Stockport Council yesterday. The plans are for improvements to the small top section of the existing skatepark and the transition to the lower section; plus resurfacing of the existing basketball court and additional fencing, turning the court into a modern Multi-User-GAmes facility (MUGA).
The process has taken a long time because comments objecting to the plans submitted in December were received. Of these comments, the planners decided that one in particular needed to be addressed. This was that “there would be no hard-standing access to the new sports area (existing basketball court)” once the improvements were completed.
This has taken considerable time to reach a satisfactory conclusion, as the only way to provide this without restarting the planning process from scratch was to create a new footpath within the footprint covered by the existing planning application. This forced us down the route of adding a footpath along the top edge of the skatepark area (the strip shaded a peachy colour in the 3D visual).
Unfortunately, RoSPA regulations for skateparks stipulate that you cannot have a footpath closer than 2 metres from a skatepark obstacle or feature. This meant that we effectively lost a 3 metre usable strip in total from the top section of the skatepark. The loss of this space meant that we had to make significant changes to what we had originally hoped to do with the top section design, as you will see if you compare the approved plans with what was originally submitted.
But, we are where we are, and at last it’s approved and we can move forward.
The next stage is to firm up the costs for the whole of Phase II. Discussions are ongoing with the skatepark contractor to confirm their costs for the skatepark element and to satisfy the council’s procedures for a single tender action. The MUGA element of the works is expected to go out on competitive tender before Christmas and once we have both prices finalised we will know how much money we need to undertake the full works planned.
The really good news is that £85,000 of Formal Sports Commuted Sums has been approved by the council for this scheme. We won’t know for a while if this is quite enough to do the whole project but if not, it will certainly be a very significant proportion of it. Obviously once we know, and if there is a shortfall, we will look for ways to raise any extra money that is needed.
It may interest Marple people to know that the formal sports commuted sums have come from the Morris Homes development on Hibbert Lane.