Skatepark is on its way

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STAMFORD could have a new skatepark by next summer after a fundraising committee reached its target of £150,000.

The news was announced at a public meeting on Wednesday evening.

About 100 people packed the town hall, including skaters young and old, parents, town councillors and some residents opposed to the plans, to hear the latest developments.

The new park will be a sunken concrete bowl-shaped structure on the Recreation Ground, on the same site as the previous skatepark.

Wooden ramps there were torn down in 2008 because they were unsafe.

Stamford Skatepark Comm-ittee chairman Marc Stanier told the meeting: “We have achieved the target of £150,000. The public consultation is ongoing.

“We are beginning the tender process and budgeting for anti-social behaviour mitigation.”

He said the committee hoped building would start in March to open in June.

He said the skatepark needed to fill a number of criteria. It should be hidden from view but should be on public land, not too near or far from housing with good access and close to the emergency services. It should also not be on a flood plain.

He added: “We did have a look at other options. But we came back round to The Rec. Other age groups are already catered for there and it fits all the requirements. It is as close to perfect as Stamford has got.”

Funding for the park has come from donations from numerous local people, businesses and organisations, a National Lottery grant and committee fundraising events

Residents of streets near the Recreation Ground spoke out against the plans, saying they were happy for a skatepark to be built – just not near their homes.

Peter Heyes, chairman of the Stamford Recreation Ground Residents’ Association spoke on behalf of 25 people who live near the site.

Mentioning the noise the previous skatepark caused, Mr Heyes said: “I lived through six years of hell.

“Residents are very upset they have not been consulted. Nobody has gone to individual people and asked how they feel about this.

“The residents are not ‘nimbys’ because their belief is that the Recreation Ground should be preserved as a family-focused, green space for the enjoyment of all the town’s people.

“They feel that under the Human Rights Act they have a right to the enjoyment of their home and have a right to a respect for their private and family life.”

Mr Heyes asked the committee to find an alternative site.

But a number of Stamford town councillors and parents expressed their support for the project, saying it was vital for youngsters to have something to do in the town.

Gareth Bramley, of Ayr Close, told the meeting he took his five-year old son to the old skatepark and was amazed when a 15-year old boy offered to give him a lesson.

He said: “The country is suffering because we do not provide enough for our teenagers.

“These people will be the next councillors and prime ministers. If we keep telling them they can’t have things we are knocking them back every time.”

Responding to Mr Heyes’ point that his life had been “hell” for six years, Mr Bramley added: “You don’t know what hell is. There are plenty of young people in Afghanistan who know what hell is.”

The committee has promised to meet residents again to try to ease their concerns.

Watch a video on You Tube about the Stamford Skatepark Project