A war of words has broken out over the redesign of the world-famous Livingston Skatepark.
Regular users of the park, which opened in 1981, have accused Gravity Skateparks, the firm charged with the £250,000 redesign project, with carrying out “slapdash and shoddy” work at the site.
Concerns have also been raised that the dimensions and sight-lines of the new park would lead to a greater risk of collisions and injury.
However, Gravity has responded by saying its critics are employees of rival skatepark firms aiming to discredit them by breaking into the uncompleted site and taking pictures of unfinished work.
Kenny Omond, 71, of Livingston, was one of those who originally helped establish the skatepark, which has been used by household names such as Tony Hawk.
He said the redesign had a number of “flaws”.
“There appears to be what is known as a ‘blind intersection’ where two users of the park would be at risk of colliding and injuring themselves. The design of the ‘twin bowls’ is absolutely useless as the basins are smaller in diameter than in the old park, meaning it would be very difficult for a user to steady themselves or turn.”
Mr Omond added that there were some cracks in the concrete, and said Gravity had been “dismissive” of their claims.
A Facebook group called Help Us Stop Gravity from Ruining Livingston Skatepark has now attracted more than 2600 members and has also received support from world famous skaters such as Stu Graham, Darren Navarrette and Theotis Beasley.
Brendan Jarvis, Director of Gravity Skateparks, said his firm had built more than 200 skateparks and hit out at the claims.
“The design has been checked thoroughly and was heavily consulted on before the build. Everyone was happy with it then.
“Any building work on any site will run into the occasional snag, and mistakes will always be rectified, but most other building sites don’t have to deal with people breaking in and taking pictures of things that are due to be taken out and replaced.”
Mr Omond responded that if campaigners had not en-tered the site they would not have had the evidence required to show that the work going on was not up to standard.
A spokesman for West Lothian Council urged people not to judge the project until it was completed, adding: “We have no evidence to suggest that the finished skatepark will be unsafe. To try and address concerns raised by some members of the skating community, an independent consulting engineer has been appointed to provide an objective assessment of the concrete structure completed to date.
“We would also remind people that entering a construction site without the appropriate permissions and safety wear is both illegal and dangerous.”
A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are aware of local youths entering a skate park, which is currently undergoing refurbishment in Howden Road South, Livingston. Local officers continue to monitor the area during routine patrols.”