Hornchurch’s Grade II listed Rom Skatepark to close after 41 years over rising costs and falling attendances

PUBLISHED: 09:44 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:54 09 September 2019

A new exhibition celebrating 40 years of Rom Skatepark will be opening at Havering Museum at the end of next month. Photo: Matt Harris

A new exhibition celebrating 40 years of Rom Skatepark will be opening at Havering Museum at the end of next month. Photo: Matt Harris

Matt Harris

The world’s only full-size listed skatepark has announced it is closing its doors after 41 years serving Havering’s skaters in Hornchurch.

Photographs of the blaze at Rom Skate Park this morning. Photo:LFBPhotographs of the blaze at Rom Skate Park this morning. Photo:LFB

The Grade II listed Rom Skatepark in Upper Rainham Road, Hornchurch, ceased operations on September 1, citing rising insurance costs and a poor attendance record this summer.

Owners of the park revealed that the loss of all the park's indoor facilities after a "devastating" fire last July had seriously damaged the parks revenue streams in the year since, and despite a small grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year "the park is no longer able to remain open for the foreseeable future".

In the early hours of July 5 2018 more than 70 firefighters spent two hours tackling a huge blaze in outbuildings there. Thankfully there were no reports of any injuries.

In a statement, owners of the park said: "As the world's only full size heritage listed skatepark and with the 2020 Olympics, where both skateboarding and freestyle BMX are making their Olympic debut, this could not come at a worse time.

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"We are well aware of the huge following Rom has had over the decades with a huge fan base, not just locally but around the world.

"Most of the world's biggest names in BMX and skateboarding have at some time graced the hallowed concrete of Rom, from the Godfather of BMX freestyle Bob Haro and pro rider Matt Hoffman to legendary skaters Lance Mountain and Mark Gonzales plus countless others.

"Not to mention the thousands of local riders who have considered Rom a second home."

The management's main goal in the short term is to ensure the closed park is maintained properly whilst applications are made for funds to try and reopen again in the spring or summer next year.

They continued: "As such we have established a Community Interest Company with a board of directors comprised of dedicated Rom locals as well as experts in funding, accounting, property and architecture and will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the next few weeks with some very ambitious goals and plans to ensure there is a future for Rom.

"To aid us in this campaign we are also, planning on putting up for auction the unique, original street art pieces at Rom from The London Police, Ben Eine and Mr. Penfold in order to start to build up a war chest for the inevitable costs the park will face to try and open again.

"We are sorry that you won't get to ride or skate the park again and are grateful for the support you've given over the years, please continue to support the park in any way you can, we will be making more announcements over the coming weeks."

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