Skate park project moving forward

Local people keen to see Ashbourne get a new skate park are to meet again on 14 July in a bid to move the project forward.

It is hoped to set up a steering group at the 6.30pm meeting at St Oswald’s Church Hall in School Lane.

More than 60 people attended an initial meeting in the town last month, organised by Derbyshire Dales District Council to gauge local appetite for a new skate park, which would cost around £70,000.

The District Council itself cannot fund the project, but wants to work in partnership with the local community to seek external funding.

Anyone interested in being part of the steering group is asked to email the District Council’s community development officer Ros Hession in advance of the meeting or phone 01629 761302.

She said:

"The group would benefit from a wide range of skill sets, including marketing, design, technical, financial and administrative knowledge, project management, fund raising experience and, above all, enthusiasm.”

Ashbourne’s old vandalism-plagued skate park at the District Council’s leisure centre was dismantled in March this year after councillors decided it had reached the end of its life expectancy.

Closed for almost two years after a fire started in the skate park resulted in £300,000 worth of damage and loss of income at the adjoining leisure centre, the old facility had cost the council an additional £22,500 in repairs and maintenance since it opened 12 years ago.

The District Council has set up a Facebook page called ‘Ashbourne Skate Park Project’ for feedback and conversation.

  • 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 were evaluated, and in March this year 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.
  • 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.

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