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Chippenham skate park hopes dashed
Hopes of finally finding a skatepark site in Chippenham were dashed last night when councillors failed to agree.
After two years of discussions about 22 sites, Chippenham Area Board councillors agreed to widen the search because of protests against the proposed site in Monkton Park.
It was the preferred option of the Chippenham skate park task group, led by Coun Desna Allen, although she was unable to say whether it would be in the exact spot as the former steel skate park that closed ten years ago because of noise complaints by residents in nearby Sadlers Mead.
Several hopeful skaters attended the meeting at Sheldon School last night, but again left disappointed.
Almost two thirds (628) of 1,000 people responded to a survey in support of Island Park. Yet an assessment of the site costing £1,800 has been thrown to the side because it was said to be unclear and contradictory.
Coun Chris Caswill, Wiltshire Councillor for Monkton, told the Gazette the report was not taken into consideration because of a lack of clarity. "I think it is a complete waste of money," he said.
Now the area board has commissioned a second noise assessment, by a different noise expert - at a further cost of £900 - this time in Monkton Park near to the Olympiad.
But this is not a popular site.
Coun Caswill was adamant that Chippenham needed a skate park, but said Monkton Park was not the right area. "They need somewhere where they can be noisy and free to express themselves,” he said. “We don't want somewhere where there is a constant source of tension. Monkton Park needs to be retained as a tranquil park."
He suggested Stanley Park. The area board voted to go ahead with his appeal for new options, which was applauded by the well-attended meeting.
Sheldon School pupil Will Thompson, 14, told the Gazette after listening to the meeting of nearly three hours: "There's a lot of kids my age in the street making noise and if they had a skate park it would give them something to do rather than creating trouble and grafitti."