JUNCTION 4: Massive Skatepark Expansion Project | Ride UK BMX

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JUNCTION 4: Massive Skatepark Expansion Project

Now this is exciting. Junction 4 Skatepark up in the Blackburn area has always had a strong scene, but now it’s time to build on that. Physically, not metaphorically. And it’s really building. Big time. We’ve never seen a skatepark extension on this scale before. It’s really, really exciting. Just look at the plans! Check out what they’ve completed so far and read all about the process with the main man, Ant Ramsey.

The Olympic style ramp course at Junction 4
The plaza!
The dirt / pump track

Q&A with Ant Ramsey

– This is a huge project. How did it all start?

We always had an idea that we wanted to expand but we thought it would take ages to get established, raise funding and start the planning process. When the first Covid lockdown came, we thought that was it, we would have to close. We approached the local council to explain what would happen with no income while the whole country was in lockdown. I managed to get one of the directors from the council to visit the skatepark, showed him round and explained how skateparks run on nothing and regularly come close to shutting their doors. At the end of the meeting I showed some of the drawings I had worked on for our future plans. He went away and I thought that would be the end of the skatepark.

Two weeks later I got a phone call asking if we could use £200k. I couldn’t believe it. But also realised this was the start of something bigger. I could now approach other funders to get ‘matched funding’ so we started a conversation with British Cycling about their ‘Places to Ride’ fund. The project spiralled very quickly and we soon found ourselves working on a project over the £1m mark.

– What are the main aims of building all this new terrain?

We aren’t a very big indoor skatepark, about 6000sq/ft. We needed to be bigger to accommodate more people, the park felt busy with 30 people in it. We needed more areas. It was decided that we should go down the route of making areas that people actually wanted to ride and can’t ride outdoors anywhere in the UK.

– Who’s been responsible for the design of the different areas?

There have been a few of us throwing ideas around… Myself, Millie Ramsey (it helps to have a daughter who works in design), Shaun Scarfe from Four One Four Skateparks, Matt Priest on the dirt and pump track setups, Janis and Toms from Mindworks Ramps for the concrete, and Simon Kotowicz from YES MY LORD pulled it it all together into some unreal 3D designs/visuals that helped people realise what we were trying to achieve. Plus we’ve had Sam Jones on board. It’s been really good working with Sam on this as he is local to the park. It helped us consult with the local riders to make sure this is something they want too.

Gallery: Building the Plaza

– What would you say are the inspirations behind the designs / layout?

I wanted it to feel different and stand out. The street plaza is a good example of that. It feels like something that you would never get in the UK. It is packed full of rails, ledges and quirky little bits. The park course has been influenced by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic course and is as big as possible with the space we have.

Surrounding the whole place we have 2 stories of shipping containers made into viewing areas, storage, toilets and of course a BAR. This has been influenced by container villages like Stacks in Newcastle, Box Park in London and Dubai.

– What’s your involvement with Junction 4?

I am a director of Junction 4 Skatepark CIC and I’m the facilities manager, cook, toilet cleaner, coach, event organiser, fundraiser and anything else I need to do to keep it going.

– You’ve already secured some funding. What happens next?

The funding has been secured and we have been building now for 10 months. It has taken longer than expected due to Covid, the shortage of building materials and delays in the supply chain. We are aiming to be complete by the end of June this year. But this is just the first phase, we in the process of purchasing almost 2 acres of land to expand further. Keep watching!

– Will you have subcontractors building different areas?

Yeah, we have contractors for each area.

The principal contractor is Four One Four Skateparks. They oversee the whole project under my direction.

The concrete has been done by Mind Works Ramps known for building the Simple Session course but less known in these parts for their concrete. The lads have done an amazing job and it has brought them more work in the UK.

The undercover wooden park course will be built by myself and Four One Four.

Matt Priest is building the dirt and pump tracks under Four One Four.

– What would it mean to you to see this mega project through to completion?

I’ll be stoked to get to finish the first phase but I won’t rest until I’ve filled the whole site. I’m stoked that people believed in us, J4 and BMX enough to commit to funding and supporting the project and J4 for the future. But what I’m really stoked on is that we will have provided something amazing for all the rider of this area and the rest of the UK.

Gallery: Dirt / Pump track design


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