A four-week public consultation on the future of a vandalism-hit Ashbourne skate park starts this Friday, 24 July.
Closed a year ago after a fire that started in the skate park resulted in £300,000 worth of damage and loss of income at Derbyshire Dales District Council's adjoining Ashbourne Leisure Centre, the facility has cost the council an additional £22,500 in repairs and maintenance since it opened 11 years ago.
A recent report by skate park specialists Ramp Child had advised that the typical life expectancy of this type of park is between 10 and 13 years - and the Ashbourne facility is already 11 years old.
Now Derbyshire Dales residents are being invited to have their say on three options:
- Repairing the skate park at a cost of £7,000 to make it fit for purpose for the remaining two years of its life expectancy
- Relocating the skate park at a cost of £35,000 plus ground works, for which external funding could be applied for
- Closing it altogether.
Local people are also being invited to suggest other viable alternatives as part of the consultation, which can be completed online at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/skateparkconsultation from 24 July. Paper copies will be available from Matlock Town Hall and from the District Council's four leisure centres in Ashbourne, Bakewell, Matlock and Wirksworth.
A District Council spokesperson said:
"We particularly want feedback from young people who used the skate park until its closure 12 months ago following the arson attack on the leisure centre.
"When it opened in May 2004 in a project part-funded by Ashbourne ID Skate Group, it was very much hoped that the park would be a safe environment for under 18s to use BMX bikes, skate boards and roller skates away from traffic and pavements.
"Sadly, in recent years the park had become a meeting place for young people to consume alcohol. Broken glass has regularly been found at the site, together with evidence of drug taking. Leisure centre users and employees have also been subjected to threatening behaviour and verbal abuse, so something has to be done.
"The aim of this consultation is to find a way forward and we very much welcome local views that will guide a decision by a full meeting of the council at the end of September."
Councillors heard at a meeting earlier this month that the introduction of CCTV and regularly meetings with police, local volunteer groups and the county council had so far failed to solve problems of anti-social behaviour at the skate park.
- The public consultation closes at 12 noon on 21 August.