Battle over future of skate park
PROTESTING skateboarders and BMX riders descended on a meeting at Newquay Town Council on Thursday following a proposal to shut the popular skate park.
Around 100 riders staged a demonstration outside the council offices in Marcus Hill ahead of the authority discussing the future of Wooden Waves skate park at Trenance. There was a police presence throughout to ensure emotions did not spill over during the footpaths, bridleways and open spaces meeting, which only a quarter of the protesters could attend.
The rest stood outside awaiting to hear the outcome.
Riders accused the town council of neglecting the skate park, of keeping its closure plans “secretive” and of “lying” that it had submitted a grant application to Sport England towards building a £400,000 concrete facility.
The future of the facility has been thrown into doubt after the town council was instructed byits insurance company to carry out an inspection. The Royal Society for the Prevention of
Accident report states the skate park is in an unacceptable condition, which is likely to result in the town council having its insurance cover removed or limited.
The town council’s preferred option is to close the park and instruct a contractor to remove all furniture and fencing, but following the heated debate with the riders the authority stated
it will be evaluating all options to keep Wooden Waves open.
The town council says it will be looking to see if further ramps could be placed on the site while the condemned ramps are removed or repaired. Alternatively, the authority will potentially completely replace the entire park, which could cost £45,000. But another option open to the council is to relinquish the lease of the skate park land back to Cornwall Council, which runs out next year. The unitary authority has already stated it would place the land up for sale on the open market.
Riders and their parents spoke passionately during the meeting. about how important the park is to many people of the town. Fears were raised about the problems that will arise in the town centre if it were closed.
Riders claim they warned the town council about the condition of the park but they say little repair work was carried out.
Gerrard Watts said: “If you take away the park there will be hell to pay. We warned you about this. You do not care what is good for this town. All you care about is boring things like the Killacourt.”
Riders also argued the town council could not legally close the skate park without providing another facility. Samuel Carrington, who is a member of the skatepark users group, said:
“The town council will be required by law to provide an alternative skate park if it is unable to maintain the facility.
“The council was supposed to be applying for funding to get a concrete skate park. They have not put in the funding application. They have been lying to the user group. Some 300 people use the park on a regular basis. If you take the park away there will be 300 kids onthe streets.
“If a concrete park was built it could attract worldwide competitions, which would generate lots of money. It could be bigger than the Boardmasters.”
Cllr John Redman, the newly installed chairman of the committee, stated he would do all he could to keep the skate park open. He also vowed that the skate park user group would be involved in any decision about the future of the facility.
Cllr Redman said: “Everything will be done to preserve the skateboard park. We will look at every option we can, including private and public investment.”
A petition signed by 400 people was presented to the town council following the meeting opposing the closure of the park, which was compiled in a day and mainly consisted of signatures from businesses within the town centre who are worried about the impact it will have.
A statement issued by the town council after the meeting said: “We are still committed to providing a facility for those residents who enjoy using a skate park facility for skateboarding and completely sympathise – but safety of users must be our first priority.
“The town council has spent in excess of £271,000 of ratepayers’ money on keeping the park open since it was built in 2002/03 and the annual budget for the facility is £15,000.
“Cornwall Council owns the land on which the skate park is situated and the lease that Newquay Town Council holds at present expires in 2013.
“The town clerk has been working hard to try and obtain the freehold from Cornwall Council, which would give the town council access to a wider range of funding sources as currently most require the applicant to either own or hold a 25-year lease to apply for funding.”
Protesters have set up the Facebook page called Save Newquay Skate Park so that people can put forward their thoughts on the issue.
|#1 30/05/2012 22:40||Louise George commented...|
Thank you ´Newquay Voice´ for putting this on your front page - maybe have a ´follow up´ article.....
|#2 12/06/2012 20:23||Joe commented...|
WEll dpne for revolting against the shameful council - hoping for the best Joe
|#3 12/06/2012 20:46||Samuel Johnson commented...|
what!!! I travelled down there last month to check out this awesome skatepark as I was hoping to host an event there and bring my riders down for a comp!!
This cannot be happening, when every council in the country is looking for ways and places to build skateparks because its the fastest growing sports are all now skatepark based
This is ludicrous!!! I´m sharing this now - what a joke
TWO LEGGED DOG LTD
|#4 12/06/2012 22:00||John Bailey commented...|
Vision Ramps would love to help this project out!
Get in touch and we can see what we can do. We have built, renovated and repaired many skateparks around the country.
|#5 13/06/2012 06:54||Leon harvey commented...|
Hi my name is leon, i´m 24 from hinckley, leicestershire and i´d like to support keeping the wooden waves skatepark as every year i make the 5 hour journey several times just to ride this great park. There are thousands and thousands of football pitches, tennis courts, rugby pitches and more that never get shut down but also never get used around the country, yet skateparks are always the ones to be shut down. This fustrates me so much as i have been a keen bmx rider for the last 8 or 9 years now and every year there are less and less places to ride. Local councills are happy to spend costs on building multi million pound facilities for other sports so why not bmx skateboard and inline! Just because it isnt mainstream this doesnt mean that it is dying. I used to run a bmx shop that unfortunatly closed because of a family illness but when the shop was in business it was booming with atleast 20 new bmx bikes being sold a week, so lets keep our skateparks going so that people can still do what they love doing. Thanks
|#6 19/06/2012 17:54||Georgina commented...|
No way should the council be able to just close this skate park... get them to spend some time down there with the kids and see just what its all about, My 13 year old son (Leic) scooters.. our town has a skate park in the town centre and Terminal1 an amazing indoor park... There is so very little for youngsters to do today... don´t take away what they have... listen to the kids... provide for them... they are after all your towns future
|#7 06/07/2012 09:58||Jack commented...|
Dose any one know when the scate park is open