Over 50 people in Middleleaze and The Prinnels have now lodged objections to the proposed skateboard park at Salt Way Fields in Middleleaze and say a more central location would be suitable for it.
The residents are concerned with site security, disturbance and noise arising from an open-all-hours facility, the potential for vandalism, the lack of first aid facilities and difficult access for emergency vehicles.
Linford Madley, of The Prinnels, said residents are not against the idea of a skate board park but want it to see it built in the right place. “We’re keen that £60,000 of our money isn’t wasted by the council building a facility that is in the wrong location. Once built it cannot be moved and there are unlikely to be funds available to upgrade security or improve emergency vehicle access, which have been necessary retrospectively at other skate parks.
“It’s regrettable that we had to resort to a Freedom of Information request to discover that there has been no formal consideration given to the best site to locate a skate park in West Swindon. It is surprising that an important decision to spend £60,000 at Salt Way Fields did not involve a more formal consultation process and was based purely on informal discussions between a councillor and officers.”
He pointed out the Police Crime Prevention Officer has recommended a security fence similar to that at the smaller Haydon Wick to control the times of use and access to the facility in order to reduce the potential for disorderly conduct and noise nuisance.
The residents are suggesting the council look at alternative more suitable locations for the skate board park, particularly the unused basketball court at the West Swindon Centre. Resident Ashley Jones says it is the ideal location: “It has everything needed including access to first aid in the Link Centre, easy access to emergency services, 24 hour CCTV coverage, and thanks to the efforts of the local police, there are no drug or anti-social behavior issues there.
“It’s the obvious place; the basketball court there hasn’t been used for years and the Link Centre already has a thriving community of people that enjoy sport.”
However skateboard park sponsor Cllr Nick Martin said he is disappointed that young people in the ward who had lobbied and worked on plans for the last two years for the skate park could be let down. “It is difficult to comprehend the problem when all you can hear on the Salt Way site is the drone of traffic on Tewkesbury Way.
“Councillors in Shaw are proud that Salt Way school field was saved as open space for all kinds of users; we represent all the residents of the ward. The multi-use games area built there two years ago has not been a problem.”
The project is likely to be debated by the planning committee in August.