No material has been published from the steering group and discussions with specialist skate park designers. In fact, the Council says it has no information on those discussions. An FOI request published on 12 February reports:
“22298 Treverlen Park –
Skate Park Notes and drawings of the discussions with users in 2018-19 about the design of the skate park in Treverlen Park.
All of the feedback from the meetings with users has been incorporated into the drawings included in the attached presentation. This includes the latest version of the park design and was presented at a public meeting on 28th February 2019. The design team (external consultants) have not sent any minutes to the Council from the meetings with the user group and no Council employees were involved in those meetings.”
In early 2019, rumours circulated that the Park costs were out-running the budget (£1million) and that cuts would be made. At the same time, contradicting rumours circulated of ambitions for a large skate park (an eastern version of the Saughton facility) and of the skater proposals falling short of what had been promised. Neither of these were substantiated – the text of the “promise” is only the passage in the Development Management Committee report and any major facility would require revisiting the planning approval.
Nevertheless, protest began, with an online “petition“:
“We ask the City of Edinburgh Council to honour its commitment to the original skate park design on the new Treverlen Park on the site of the old St John’s school.
It was revealed recently that the budget for the skatepark has been slashed by 36%, and the size of it by 70%, without any consultation with local people or public statement to that effect. This is completely unacceptable as the responses to the consultation for the park showed overwhelming support for a skatepark on the site. The new park is a unique opportunity to provide this long called-for facility for the young people of Portobello and Duddingston and not just replicate what already exists in the adjacent Figgate Park.
We also call on Portobello and Northfield Willowbrae Community Councils to support local efforts to ensure the views of the community are heard and to provide practical help to assist those wishing to bring the promised skatepark to life.
Why is this important?
The promised new park offers an exceptional and unique opportunity to provide something new and different for younger people in our community. At present, there are facilities for many groups in the surrounding area including a variety of playparks for the very young and walking, running and cycling options for people and dogs in both parks and at the beach. People in their teenage years and young adults have fewer outdoor options than most groups but are just as deserving of facilities to meet their needs.
We need to stop and consider what is most important for our growing population, to respond to their needs and to ensure that Council-made promises are kept to demonstrate good faith and to make social inclusion a reality.”
The Council insisted that it would deliver what had been approved in planning. It published a drawing showing a small skate facility but also with substantial reductions in the recreation for the wider public. Basically, the park was a small skate patch and a climbing frame. Local people became concerned that what they had agreed and welcomed would not be provided.
A second petition was then produced by another group, based in Baronscourt and Willowbrae, using an obscure provision in the standard constitution for community councils, requiring the Northfield and Willowbrae Community Council to hold a Special Meeting to discuss the proposition:
“that the commitment to provide a skatepark in Treverlen Park should be honoured”.
The Community Council duly held a meeting in the new St John’s Primary School on 28 February. Considerable behind the scene discussions took place locally, and with City Councillors and Council officers, pointing out that the pared-down version pleased no one and offered nothing for the community.
At the Special Meeting, the Council presented another new plan as the pared-down version had been rejected by Planning, and this was accepted by both skaters and by local people. Construction resumed.