THE construction of Farnborough's new skatepark has begun next to the recreation centre.

It was first requested by local skating group Fboro Massive and became a reality with help from Rushmoor Council, the Community Safety Partnership, the Hampshire Playing Fields Association and Farnborough skate shop Swivel.

The hope is that it will become the focal point for skateboarders, BMX riders and in-line skaters from in and beyond the borough.

Peter Amies, Rushmoor's head of leisure services, said: "There's been a lot of self-help for this scheme and this bodes well for the future."

He added that in the past Rushmoor had tried to develop recreation schemes without consultation and it had all gone "pear-shaped".

The council wants users to take responsibility for the skatepark to ensure its success and so has combined with Fboro Massive to create the Rushmoor Skateboard and BMX Association (RSBA), known on the street as Regiment 36, which has been recruiting members for some time.

Secretary Sean Leahy, 21, said: "Initially we did recruiting at the Skate Jam at Christmas and we got about 150 people then.

"We have had another 50 or so join since."

Sean (blue shirt), a graphic design student at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in Farnham, said skateboarding had been boosted by the opening of Swivel in Farnborough and new facilities in Guildford, and added that the RSBA meant enthusiasts "should be able to organise competitions a bit better".

Cllr David Clifford said of Fboro Massive members' involvement in the skatepark development: "All credit to them. We have been helping them, but they have been helping themselves."