SCOOTER-mad youngsters in Inverness could find themselves testing their two-wheeled skills on what is believed to be Scotland’s first purpose-built scooter park.
Designs have been drawn up to create such a facility as part of the ongoing development of Inshes Park which opened five years ago.
Although there are three skate and bike parks in the city, they do not welcome scooters as the metal bases can damage the course edgings and create a trip hazard.
The project is being led by Inshes Community Association which is optimistic of securing the estimated £350,000 from potential funders.
Thomas Prag, association chairman, said a survey among hundreds of primary school pupils in the area had revealed a scooter park was top of many youngsters’ wish lists.
"It is very fashionable among young people to have scooters," he said. "The problem is they damage the existing skate or wheel parks because of the way they are built and therefore they become unpopular.
"There is a demand there for something which is specifically designed for scooters – but not just scooters. It would for available for skateboards and BMX bikes as well. It would be a multipurpose wheel park."
Project manager Alan Jones said some youngsters resorted to using their scooters in places such as the area in front of the central library in Farraline Park.
"We think this is Scotland’s first scooter park," he said. "We want to have a focal point where we can encourage the youngsters to go. It will be free of charge."
Designs incorporating reinforced edges have been drawn up in consultation with a specialist skatepark company which has an office in Falkirk and depending on funding being obtained, it could be operational within a year.
It would form part of the second phase of development at Inshes Park which not only serves the growing neighbourhoods of Inshes and Milton of Leys but also the broader city.
The first phase, covering an area beside Inshes Primary School between Sir Walter Scott Drive and Stevenson Road, included a children’s playground, paths and trees. The third phase will be a more natural wild area in the steeper area at the top bounded by existing burns.
"It is hugely popular as there is no other major park this side of the river," Mr Jones said.
Highland Council has now started extensive infrastructure work for the second phase on the other side of Stevenson Road using funding from developer contributions .
But the role of providing play equipment has been taken on by the community association since being set up in 2011,
"The council doesn’t have the money to provide the equipment," he said.
Mr Jones pointed out the council recently announced it would be closing some play parks and not investing in others. He has worked as a consultant over recent years with local play groups wanting to take over council parks and upgrade them for their own communities.