The Telegraph Hill Skate Park

A lot has been said about the skate park since it opened in Telegraph Hill, a week or so ago. The debate around this facility has been so toxic that we wanted to see for ourselves how it was shaping up and show you it in action.

Here are our observations and a couple of little videos from Saturday.

Taking each of the expressed concerns in turn:

"Only a handful of 'middle class' kids using it": There was a satisfyingly diverse group of kids using the skate park. Kids from about 7-16 were on there, using skateboards, scooters and roller skates. We first arrived when the rain had only just abated. By the time we left, there were perhaps 15 people using it, on a miserable grey day when a hardy clutch of parents and young kids using the playground were the only other people making use of the park. There is no-doubt it is a well-used facility.

"Litter": None. The place was spotless. Perhaps the place had recently been cleaned, but there were plenty of kids using the park at the time and none was dropping litter.

"Noise": Below the line of the skate park and football cage, noise is not an issue - the skating is inaudible, the voices of young children in the playground were the only thing we could hear. Above it, in the stretch of the park up to Kitto Road, there is no question that you can hear the skating. A faint clacking sound will certainly shatter any illusions you might have that this is the countryside as you potter in this small area of the park. But the sound of aircraft overhead was louder and just as consistent. On the other side of Pepys Road, where the houses are, the sound was almost imperceptible. If you stood in your front garden listening for it, you'd hear it, in between the sound of buses rumbling past. Indoors, we can't imagine it would be detectable.

"Dangerous skating in the rest of the park": We were with two young kids and at no point did we have to worry about their safety.

"Graffiti": We spotted a couple of small tags scrawled in pen on the concrete of the ramp.

"Under age drinking": No. These kids were there to skate. We could have done with a shot of something though.

"Aesthetics": It isn't pretty. Landscaping is not finished yet and it will obviously look a lot better when it is. From most angles in the park it isn't visible, but from down the hill, by the children's slide, you can see the grey concrete wall. It would have been good if they'd given this a little more thought, perhaps cladding it in black to match the football cage.

"Loitering": Yes. There were some kids, standing around, talking to one another. In a park!

So there we are. Make of that what you will.

While we were there, a brass band marched around the park, playing slightly off-key versions of pop songs. We'd had about an hour of them, when a guy we were sharing  see-saw pushing duties with in the playground asked us if we knew who they were. Thinking we'd found a sympathetic soul, we said we didn't know but they were getting on our nerves. "No!" He said. "They are fantastic." We thought about it for a second. "Fair enough," we shrugged, "each to their own."