Popularity of temporary Hackney Wick skateboard park means contract is extended
PUBLISHED: 13:27 31 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:55 31 October 2012
A man who won a competition to run a skateboard park in Hackney Wick, has had his contract extended.
Andy Willis, 31, a commercial ramp builder, was chosen by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in July to put the disused space in Rothbury Road, Hackney Wick to use.
He transformed it using reclaimed materials which were discarded from the Horse Guards Parade arena – used as a venue for beach volleyball – in the run-up to the Olympics.
Two months after being handed the keys, and with hundreds of skateboarders using the park, he has been told his lease will be extended until January.
Mr Willis, of St Albans, said: “I’m ecstatic. I have been working towards that. One of the reasons they extended it was because the skateboard park was so popular. It seems that I will get an extension next summer.”
He is planning to extend the area to other uses, including a market, outdoor cinema and an outdoor music venue.
He said: “With winter coming, I will only be able to open the skateboard park on dry days, so was thinking of opening a cinema, possibly a drive-through. I’ve got people who want to show short films.
“I’m also in talks with somebody who runs a local flea-market about putting it on the site.”
Mr Willis runs a skateboard park in St Albans and has been involved in building the biggest jump run in Europe.
He said: “I still skate myself. I’ve spent a while working towards getting my foot in East London and want to see more kids’ facilities. Although lots of money has been spent on skateboard parks, they are suffering because of the recession.”
A spokeswoman from LLDC said: “Frontside Gardens Skate Park is a great example of bringing a derelict space back into public use, while we develop longer term plans for the area.”