£180,000 masterplan for Marsh estate hub and skatepark

Yak Patel at the Marsh Community Centre in Lancaster which has secured planning permission for a skate park
Yak Patel at the Marsh Community Centre in Lancaster which has secured planning permission for a skate park

A community hub to serve families living on the Marsh estate could soon be a reality.

Staff at Marsh community centre, led by centre manager Yak Patel, have come up with a £180,000 masterplan which has been drawn up by Mason Gillibrand architects.

The Marsh community centre plans.

The Marsh community centre plans.

It follows years of planning and is the start of another year of hard work fundraising.

The plans include a skatepark, climbing frames, a picnic and barbecue area, community garden, art project, recycling project and outdoor gym.

Yak said: “It has taken us 10 years to get us where we are today.

We had a long term ambition to make it a real community hub where all members of the community could come and use the facility.

“We were hiring a portable skatepark from the council which we had to put up and take down every time we used it, and so we wanted a permanent fix.

“We started doing some research and looking at other skateparks, and then did a consultation last summer, when the children went out and spoke to local people – no one objected to our plans, which was great.

“Architects came up with the idea of a 24ft half pipe, which we thought could be a catalyst for developing the land further and making a big family area for climbing frames and a picnic area.

The centre currently opens Monday to Saturday, 8am until 9.30pm, but Yak hopes to expand the centre’s services still further.

He said: “We want families to be able to come and get advice and access information about services as well as be able to sit outside and enjoy the space.

“We feel like there’s currently nothing like that in this area.

“Our ultimate goal is to have community keyholders; it’s about working with local people rather than just the community centre staff, to give them some ownership and responsibility.

“Long term it’s about promoting family values and improving the outlook for the children and young people that we work with, and we are really excited by it.”

It is estimated the half pipe will cost about £30,000 to make, and the centre already has two funders on board – Awards for All and The Clothworkers Foundation.

The whole project will cost around £180,000, but Yak has high hopes for it to be up and running next summer.

He said: “It’s about everyone working together and getting people to keep on investing in the area to ensure the future survival of it.

“We want people to take care of and respect their own environment in their community; it’s about everyone working together.

“We provide valuable services for local people, all funded through fundraising activities.

“I think we offer something very unique and we want to get local people involved.

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with local businesses in whatever way they can help.

“Marsh is a great area, and I am proud to be working here and I want to carry that work on.”

A public information day at the centre for people look at the plans and watch a video is planned for Tuesday, July 29, 6.30-9.30pm.