Your District Council is encouraging local people to get involved in a project to create a new skate park in Ashbourne – as work to dismantle the old one starts this week.
Closed almost two years ago after a fire started in the skate park resulted in £300,000 worth of damage and loss of income at our adjoining Ashbourne Leisure Centre, the old facility has cost the council an additional £22,500 in repairs and maintenance since it opened 12 years ago.
At a meeting last Thursday, councillors supported the majority view from an initial consultation to relocate the vandalism-plagued facility to a new site in the town.
The cost would be at least £70,000 for new ramps and groundwork.
A District Council spokesperson said:
“There is no cash available in the District Council’s budget for us to lead on the skate park scheme. Our role will be to help the local community move this project forward itself and speak again to people who contributed to the initial consultation.
“We are urging local groups and people to contact us with their ideas and in the meantime we will be carrying out a more detailed assessment of the preferred site.”
Anyone interested should contact the District Council’s community engagement officer Ros Hession at email@example.com or phone 01629 761302.
This preferred site in the Fishpond Meadow section of the Recreation Ground was originally gifted to the District Council by Nestle, meaning any construction there would need the permission of the Nestle Trust.
Local people were asked for their views on the future of the skate park last autumn after the leisure centre site became a regular target for vandalism – and 57% of those taking part in the consultation exercise opted for the park to be relocated to a more suitable location.
Seven potential sites have since been evaluated, and last week members of the District Council’s Community & Environment Committee agreed that the Fishpond Meadow site was the pick of the bunch.
The meeting was also informed that there has been no increase in anti-social behaviour in Ashbourne since the closure of the old skate park – in fact ASB reports were down by 10.9% for the year to January 2016.
Last year the District Council reported that regular meetings with police, local volunteer groups and the county council had failed to resolve problems at the leisure centre site, despite the introduction of CCTV and litter bins. The park had become a meeting place for young people to consume alcohol, broken glass was frequently found at the site and evidence of drug taking had been found.
On one occasion a children's party had been gate-crashed by skate park users, and leisure centre employees were often subjected to threatening behaviour and verbal abuse.
- Opened in May 2004 in a project part-funded by Ashbourne ID Skate Group, the park had been envisaged as a safe environment for under 18s to use BMX bikes, skate boards and roller skates away from traffic and pavements.