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Chippenham skate park hunt turns full circle
The lengthy search for a skate park site in Chippenham has come full circle as councillors consider whether it should return to Monkton Park.
The former steel skate park in Monkton Park was closed ten years ago because of noise suffered by residents in nearby Sadlers Mead.
But the recommendation, made by the Chippenham skate park task group, proposes a new concrete construction there, ruling out a controversial site at River Island Park.
Strong opposition to the River Island Park site came from supporters of the Chippenham Folk Festival, who argued it would adversely affect one of the biggest events in the town.
Coun Desna Allen, chairman of the task group and Chippenham Area Board, said the recommendation was made after a public meeting on November 26.
Although she was unable to say whether the new skate park would be exactly in the same position as the old one, she said it would be close by.
Coun Allen said: “It was obvious from the public meeting that most people who thought the skate park was a good idea didn’t think it was a good idea in River Island Park.
"In order for us to progress councillors will need to agree with our recommendations and give us permission to investigate the Monkton Park site.
“If they choose not to do that they will have to answer to the public, but the group would like this to proceed.”
Folk festival boss Bob Berry said he would be happy to see it at Monkton Park.
He said: “The next festival is well on the way, but we’re already working on 2014 and we need to know that they’re definitely not going to put it in that space.
“We spoke to two or three young people at the meeting and they said they don’t mind where it is, they just need a skate park.”
As well as recommending a new design to minimise noise and to include CCTV cameras, the task group has requested a second noise assessment of Sadlers Mead to reassure residents.
A policy adopted by the former North Wiltshire District Council, which has been continued by Wiltshire Council, has set a noise limit for skate parks of zero decibels above background noise.
Several residents remain concerned about potential noise levels in Monkton Park. Allan Gould, who lives nearby, said: “We remain to be convinced that that by the time the noise reaches the houses from the location in Monkton Park they will be reduced to normal levels.
“The history of the previous skate park is that it goes on from 18 to 20 hours a day and once the kids leave the park they don’t go quietly.”
Resident Richard Taylor said: “If they had gone somewhere away from the properties, then the kids could make as much noise as they want.”
The next step will be decided at the area board meeting on Monday at 7pm in Sheldon School.