Thursday, 7 January 2010

Skate Park Caused Misery for Local Residents

Back in 2007 two local children Thomas Booth and Patrick Andrews came to a Parish Council meeting and put forward the idea of a skate park for Nettleham similar to that available in Welton.

Cllr. Ray Sellers, (Liberal Democrat) Nettleham & Saxilby Division county councillor and a member of the Parish Council had been approached and had recommended bringing the boys' suggestion to the Parish Council.

The Parish Council made enquires and commissioned Groundwork Lincolnshire to put together a feasibility study and ultimately to be prepared to project manage the development of a skate park.

Since 2007 the project has been marred by difficulties. Initially the feasibility study had to be returned as it did not cover Mulsanne Park or the possibility of Land off Lodge Lane and had focused on Bill Bailey's playing field. The project leader, Mr. Martin Ely, has left the organisation and at the end of 2009 a poorly presented, flawed report, littered with errors was circulated to councillors in preparation for discussion.

Above: Youngsters enjoy the mobile skate park facility provided by Nettleham Parish Council in the summer of 2009.

In spite of the problems in August and again in September, a mobile skate park was brought to Nettleham and set up in the car park at Mulsanne Park to enable youngsters from the village to try it out to see whether there was demand and if they would be in favour of a permanent one to be installed at a suitable location in the village in the future.

A number of youngsters came to sample the facilities, with more than 30 present at the peak of the action.

Now a letter has been received via email, tabled in correspondence for the Parish Council's meeting next week, which raises the concerns of local residents who live near Mulsanne Park and have experience considerable disruption during the mobile skate parks deployment.

A local resident writes:

"I am writing on behalf of the residents of the four properties on Poachers Meadow whose gardens are adjacent to the Mulsanne Car Park.

"During conversations over the past few weeks, it has emerged that we have all felt that the temporary skateboard facility which has been sited next to our properties on two occasions should not have been put so close to us.

"On both occasions the noise has been a severe intrusion on the peace which we ought to be able to expect at home. Not only has the sound of the skateboards and bikes on the surface of the equipment been noisy, but the resultant metallic banging caused by the erection and use of the unsecured equipment on the surface of the car park has been intolerable. Although is has occurred during daytime, it should not be assumed that no-one is present in our properties. In fact we all heard it at some point in the day.

"...I was present at the [Mulsanne] Park Users Committee when an idea was mooted for a 'youth shelter', where young people could gather... to be placed on the unused games area close to the children's play-park. The question of the nuisance this would certainly cause to us was not even raised...

"We accept that nothing can be entirely perfect, and do tolerate the existing disturbance caused by the newspaper skip behind our houses, and the brightness of the car park lighting which intrudes into our bedroom windows, but surely a car park should be used as such, and not be carelessly put to additional uses without thought for those living nearby, who ought to be able to expect that council members and officers will care about their interests."

From the beginning of this project I have been weary of it. It is certainly desirable to make Nettleham attractive to younger people to keep the village vibrant going forward, but I am increasingly convinced that this project is not the answer - and have voiced my concerns at meetings. One solution would be to lobby to get better bus services through the village which would be a positive step that would help youngster who wanted to use the skate park at Welton, for example, but would also be of benefit to the wider community.

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