AN URBAN skate park could be constructed between Chalon Way car park and Foundry Street.

In a move to "break down negative perceptions" of skateboarders, Merseyside Police have offered £65,000 funding to help develop the park and St Helens-based arts agency Heart of Glass has pledged £30,000 towards the site's design.

A unit for skateboard retailer '51st Skate' could also be created near the park.

Councillors will debate the proposal at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (April 26.)

A St Helens Council report says a facility for skateboarders would stop young people congregating in Church Square.

It adds: "The development of an urban skate park will provide an area where the local skateboarders can congregate without creating the potential for any perceived anti-social behaviour.

"It will provide a location where this disenfranchised part of the St Helens community can feel safe and can congregate without potential detriment to other town centre users."

It says the Liverpool City Region Police Commissioner is discussing identifying the skaters as a group who are "victims of hate crime" because of their appearance.

Council and police officers met with the skateboarders to find out where they would consider an appropriate location for a new urban skate park.

According to the report, the skateboarders wanted a visible location where they could be seen, preferably with CCTV coverage and the town centre was also their ideal location for associated facilities such as food outlets and the availability of Wi-Fi.

In adds the skateboarders "did not want a ramp facility as is provided in Victoria Park" but "wanted an urban skate park which has benches and steps to perform tricks on".

Urban skate parks are usually areas of hard surfacing with seating areas and features for the skaters to use and it would not be fenced off as an area only to be used by skateboarders.

The report says: "This will have the advantage of breaking down the boundaries between this element of our community and other people."

Merseyside Police, Heart of Glass and the council made a bid for funding from monies collected under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), a fund aimed at addressing anti-social and criminal behaviour within the community.

Artists Heather and Ivan Morrisson have been appointed to help with the park's design.

The council, who will maintain the site, say O2 have agreed to provide a Wi-Fi hub at this site, and say they will bid for additional funding from other sources.