HSP Design Vision
Community feedback meeting at Hereford Hereford Skatepark 4/8/21
The proposed expansion aims to increase the scale, diversity and uniqueness of Hereford Skatepark ensuring it continues to be one of the most successful free outdoor skateparks in the country for generations to come. Increased visitor numbers following the expansion will allow the skatepark to generate more revenue through shop sales and coaching, helping this unique 100% community owned skatepark to become financially sustainable in the long term.
Hereford Skatepark has always been more than just an activity centre. It has led the way nationally in terms of free outdoor parks becoming the community hubs that so many are today. It is a real social space for all kinds of people and has had a huge impact on many Herefordians, helping them build the confidence necessary for adult life. Its older users frequently talk about growing up there, referring to the peer-to-peer social support and mentoring they receive from other riders since they were primary school age. The community of riders is what makes Hereford Skatepark such a positive place and it goes without saying that any new design must start with local rider input.
This participatory design process was kickstarted on the 4th of August 2021 when the trustees of the charity Wheeled Sports 4 Hereford held an open public meeting at Hereford Skatepark to discuss the proposed expansion. A tour and a lively discussion followed during which a group of 40 local riders agreed to contribute to a members’ forum to get as many ideas down on paper as possible. This design vision is the result of that conversation.
Aerial view of Hereford Skatepark split into zones. Here the space for expansion can be clearly seen. Thanks to JRN Visuals for the Drone image.
Three-point design vision
Capacity and flow
The dual aim of the proposed expansion is to increase capacity and flow in all areas of the park. This will be achieved by expanding into the edges and corners of the site to double the size of the existing skateable area, and by making sure each zone is seamlessly connected to the other. The different but interconnected zones will be designed in such a way that at high capacity they function as separate areas, but when numbers of users allow, the park becomes one and can be skated as such with minimal pushing required. Maintaining flow between different zones and features is paramount so carefully positioned features will allow speed to be maintained between them and ensure multiple lines can be selected by riders. The expansion will also better connect the existing parts of the park built during Phases 1—3.
Progression for all
The expansion will include new, exciting features to ensure even advanced riders are challenged and can continue to progress and further enhance Hereford’s reputation as a major destination for UK skateboarding. Low and medium level street features will also be present in each different zone ensuring that all riders can enjoy the full extent of the park. These new features will be carefully placed to avoid the fate of many skateparks that are overcrowded with obstacles, limiting the space and time to set up for tricks.
Community heritage and ecology
The expansion will strengthen the feeling of an inclusive, community owned and run, safe public place whilst also maintaining the current rider and youth culture feel of the skatepark. Including reference to local places, materials and heritage in the design is also part of emphasising the unique feel of Hereford Skatepark. Where possible the design should also seek to reduce the ecological footprint of the expansion. Choice of materials and construction techniques are important in this regard, as is the incorporation of uncovered planted zones that can help with drainage and offset the impact of a large concrete surface. Existing trees should also be incorporated into the design wherever this is possible.