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."


THNick said...

I walked past the park at 9pm on Tuesday and could hear kids in their, despite it being locked. Playing football, not skating.

I agree, the landscaping isnt perfect (in particular that half pipe in the video, could it not have a hill built up around it?) but other than that it seems good. At 5pm yesterday, there were 30 odd kids on there, all behaving well despite that being pretty full. And the nearest rubbish was an empty coke bottle 20m away. You usually get worse on the picnic bench in the toddler playground.

As for dangerous riding in the park, two people did go past us on rollerskates while we walked through the park. Neither of them was heading to or from the skatepark though.

Anonymous said...

Honest fare.

Thanks for the review Nick. Good to see we're not all training for the 100m NIMBY race at London 2012.

Anonymous said...

So you can all shut up about it now! Yeah stick it to those bigots Nick. Glad to hear the diversity reached satisfying levels too!

Ben said...

Was very distressed to learn youths were having fun in the park.

Shoes with wheels on them!? Honestly this country is going down the pan.

Anonymous said...

Is that what passes for sarcasm these days?

Anonymous said...

I've often stopped to watch the youths skating at the park next to Deptford Bridge DLR. They are really quite incredible. I think it's much better for kids to be out in the fresh air doing exercise than sitting at home playing computer games or loitering in shopping centres.

As a former teacher, kids only tend to cause trouble when they are bored. I wish I'd had such good facilities in the neighbourhoods I grew up in when I was a kid. These things should definitely be encouraged.

Anonymous said...

The skatepark should be demolished and the skaters imprisoned.

Anonymous said...

Hanging's too good for them etc etc

Anonymous said...

It's really tiny. Too small.

Anonymous said...

Skate event tonight from dusk until midnight in Telegraph Hill Lower Park, the park will be lit with flood lights powered by a generator, there will also be a BarBQ both kindly sponsored by the Friends of Telegraph Hill.

Anonymous said...

Will there be traditional fayre?

Tamsin said...

@ Anon 23rd March
It's small because it is in a tiny park and the facility is designed for local youngsters to enjoy. The whole thing started because a group of children too young to travel far for their hobby were repeatedly practising on one patch of road to the despair of the residents and at risk to themselves. As built it is, in fact, about ten percent larger than the plans that were approved and passed at the Local Assembly after much debate.

It is not totally clear that the first Anon on 26th March is jesting - rather unfair on those who might read this and turn up too late. The event, hugely successful I understand, was earlier in the day from 12 to 4pm, and the power generated by relays of people cycling!

Usage, graffiti and noise will be monitored in these first two months and any improvements / requirements rationally discussed at the next Park meeting in May.

Tamsin said...

To counteract Nick's sunny view from a rainy day - this from a recent e-mail to the Telegraph Hill Park Users Group

I went to the skate park this afternoon with my children - and a small group of teenage boys were biking on it - they're not supposed to. They'd been doing it for a little while when I arrived and the adults who were there had asked them politely to stop a number of times, but they just ignored them.

To cut a long story short, one parent called the local police to ask them to intervene. We said we would video them biking if they refused to stop (this is after a good couple of hours of polite asking). I took the video on my phone and they became extremely, and very explicitly rude. It was so rude to me personally that I've got to follow it up ... The boys were the same ones who were causing problems yesterday throwing water bombs at younger children and seem intent on being really anti-social.

To re-iterate. All feedback, negative and positive, to the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park - park [[at]] - and the facility can be kept as the positive resource for the area that it was always intended to be.

Anonymous said...

"Only a handful of 'middle class' kids using it" - Do you really need to class children?? That's a problem with a lot of people that they want to class everything and everyone. What would you class them if they were black, wearing hoodies and having knives in their hands?

- White male (classless, and can't use the excuse "are you laughing at me because I'm black?:) )

Anonymous said...

Btw - skateparks and similar facilities can only bring good to the hood... keeps middle-class kids and not only, from lower and upper class bad things - knives and drugs...


Anonymous said...

Do we have enough people out there who would like to set up a competition/tournament for teenagers? I'm a school teacher in New Cross.

Shaun Ryan said...

Haha idiots, dangerous skating in the park... I stubed my toe once. How on earth do these folks ever get anywhere near the park? Since It probably involves crossing a road with traffic. They live in london for christ sakes and they think kids on little rubber wheels are dangerous!

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