POLICE say a skatepark in Crowthorne is "long overdue" despite residents' fears it will spark an increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Plans for a skatepark in the Morgan Recreation Ground have been in the pipeline for nearly a year, after Cllr Lars Swann received several requests from young skateboarders with nowhere to enjoy their hobby.

But the scheme has encountered numerous false starts following consistent complaints from residents.

However, police have thrown their support behind the plans and feel residents' fears are outweighed by the benefits.

PC John Gildersleeves said: "Without a shadow of a doubt we would be delighted to see a skatepark at some point — it is long overdue and badly needed.

"We are always receiving calls from residents about kids skating in inappropriate places and a skatepark would give them somewhere to go and something to do.

"I do not cover the Crowthorne area but I don't think it would cause too many problems there."

PC Kenny Dawkins, who does cover Crowthorne, said he had no qualms with a skatepark being sited on the Morgan Recreation Ground.

Cllr Swann, who has fought endlessly to bring the £50,000 skatepark to life, put the plans on display earlier this month for public viewing.

But residents are still not convinced a skatepark in the Morgan Recreation Ground is a good idea, despite it coming top in a recent survey on possible sites.

After viewing the plans, Tony Gilbert-Johns, of Addiscombe Road, raised several concerns. He said: "It would severely impact on the Crowthorne Carnival as it would be in the way of the funfair.

"Where it would be placed is where a lot of parents and youngsters go for picnics. It's going to deprive children of all these amenities. None of theses issues have been brought up.

"It's going to encourage problems with youths at night such as making noise and drinking.

"What is a good amenity will be ruined. It's a waste of money and will be detrimental to the majority of users."

Cllr Swann said: "At the end of the day I just want to give the young people something to do rather then skating up and down the High Street and main roads."

"I reiterate what the police say, which is the anti-social problem is not going to go away, with or without a skatepark."