REPLACING a local skatepark could cost double the council's original budget for the project the head of a users' group revealed yesterday.

Harrow Council has said Harrow Skatepark, in Byron Park, off Christchurch Avenue, will have to be demolished but has made £300,000 available for a replacement to be built.

Robert Adler, 31, chairman of Harrow Skatepark Users' Group, told the council it would cost at least £600,000 to replace the park at the first of a series of consultations last night, Wednesday, November 29.

The figure was based on quotes given by Fearless Ramps and Freestyle Skateparks, two independent skatepark construction companies.

Mr Adler said: "We are worried that your budget will fall short of what we need to re-build the park we have now. If that is true then we're going to lose facilities.

"The average skatepark is three times smaller than Harrow and we do not want to lose any space."

The skatepark is due to be replaced as part of a £36m project to reform the borough's leisure facilities.

Councillor Anjana Patel, portfolio holder for community and cultural services, said: "At the moment we are consulting with them on the design.

"Once we have the design the user group produces we will review the financial position."

Councillor Paul Osborne, portfolio holder for community and cultural services, responded to the comments today.

He said: "We need to look at that figure because there may be costs that we do not have to pay.

"Obviously they are keen to save the skatepark. We are trying to balance that with the need to get a new leisure centre in Harrow."

Skaters, BMX riders and rolerskaters told Cllr Osborne and Cllr Patel what the park meant to them.

Nick Zorlac, who runs a Harrow-based skateboard team called Death Skateboards, said: "Replacing the skate park is like saying that if you wipe the Mona Lisa clean you can draw another one.

"You're saying the new leisure centre is going to be so much better than the old one and we're getting something that's a quarter of what we've got now."

Councillor Bill Stevenson, deputy leader of the Labour group, commenting on the meeting, said: "We know that BMX will be in the Beijing Olympics and skate boarding will be in the London 2012 Olympics.

"At the moment Harrow has probably the best skate boarding facility in London. Why not make it into a place where the competitions could take place.

"I think we should go for something that is really excellent and exciting."