Skate park proposal deemed 'a disaster'By Nick Edmondson
November 09, 2012
A NEW skate park in Aldershot will be a ‘disaster’ and could lead to violent confrontations, nearby residents have warned.
Rushmoor Borough Council appears set to give the green light to its own application to install a new skate park at the north end of Manor Park.
However, residents of nearby Eggars Court are calling for the application to be rejected, claiming it will cause an increase in antisocial behaviour.
Chris Myles, who lives in the estate, said residents feel that their concerns have been ignored as the council has already made its decision.
He said: “This will ruin the environment we live in. The councillors just want to get this place built but they don’t actually have to live with it.
“We saw it all when we had the last skate park. That was a problem anyway. Now the council is just moving it closer to us. It will be a nightmare.”
The council removed the original skate park at the start of the year, claiming it was old and unsafe.
The site had seen repeated complaints from the nearby Campbell Fields development, including several clashes between skaters and residents.
An application was then made to move the site 70m closer to Eggars Court and was almost approved before it was revealed that residents of the area had not been sufficiently consulted.
A second application was made on July 30 following consultation, but this was halted when it was revealed that the site could encroach on bats using the park’s trees. A third application was registered on October 12, with the position of the skate park turned 90 degrees and a proposal for an earth embankment on its north and south sides.
Mr Myles, who has been nominated as a spokesman by residents of the development aged over 60, said: “The changes made by the council will make no difference whatsoever. It will be an absolute disaster and be every bit as bad as the problems they had at the last site.
“They seem to be showing some concern over disturbing bats and damaging trees, but are paying no concern to the damage that it will cause to the quality of life for some residents.
“We have spoken to members of the council about our concerns and they made us feel like we were being listened to. This looks like they haven’t been listening to us at all.
“A number of our residents’ bedrooms will be looking out directly on this thing, which will have floodlights as well.
“We have already had problems in the area. We have had youngsters urinating 60 metres away, defecating and fornicating. The language they use is absolutely disgraceful, I wouldn’t speak like that on a building site.”
Although the council will discuss the application this week, consultation is still open until November 14, when committee chairman, Cllr Alan Jackman, will decide whether any significant new points have been raised since the meeting to change the decision.
Cllr Mike Roberts said the council’s ‘mismanagement’ of the skate park and its positioning was “the council’s cross to bear”.
“The council has never really engaged with the young people of the area about the situation,” he said. “We are hearing complaints about youngsters skating on the Heroes’ Shrine and riding bikes on the steps of the new Morrisons. They say that they have no other facilities.
“Yes the young people have a responsibility to respect residents, but they have been poorly treated by this council.”
The council’s planning officers have recommended that permission be granted.
The officers’ report states: “In the circumstances it is considered that the proposal would have no material adverse implications for the general amenity or the living conditions of nearby residents.”