Three years ago we first featured a new fundraiser for a great cause, the Undercover Skate Project. The team behind the project aimed to repurpose land underneath the M275’s Rudmore flyover, currently unused concrete space, into an all-weather skate park. Fast forward three years later and the project has moved forward although slightly different from that which was first imagined. The skate park will now be situated in the former Sainsburys Supermarket building on Commercial Road.
The building is now owned by Portsmouth City Council and is being rented by the Undercover Skate Project. Detailed plans for the site’s future are currently being put together but in the meantime, the council has agreed a temporary license with Undercover Skatepark Project which is subject to certain conditions, allowing them early access.
Jacob Skinner, tenant and founder of the project said, “We’re so happy to find a home for this game-changing community project. It’s great that the council have given us this opportunity to fulfil our vision and become the home of Portsmouth skateboarding. However, we’ve got loads of other exciting plans for how we’re going to use this community space, where people of all ages and abilities can come to learn, have fun and be creative.”
Cllr Ben Dowling, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Economic Development said, “Jacob’s vision for a creative community hub is so much more than just a skatepark. It’s a much-needed facility in an area of the City Centre that has faced challenges and a great example of what we’re trying to encourage going forward. We want our City Centre to evolve with the times and have a fresh buzz about it, offering inclusive and engaging things to do and see and providing social value.”
Undercover Skatepark Project has been working through the visual plans for the site which people will be able to see soon. Supporters of the project have included Victorious Festival, Bored of Southsea, Croxtons and Wooden Wife Skateboards and fundraising is ongoing.
Tom Southall, Assistant Director Property & Investment, Portsmouth City Council said, “This is a great example of how the community are able to make temporary use of an empty building whilst the council works up its development plans. This big building should provide an excellent location for the group to develop their business model and provide the City with its first undercover skatepark.”
Photo: Olaiya Olufemi