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Brakes put on Chippenham skatepark site
The search for a skatepark site in Chippenham is set to continue after councillors rejected proposals for Monkton Park.
It follows two years of discussions by a Chippenham Area Board task group which considered more than 20 sites.
At a meeting at Sheldon School on Monday, councillors decided to widen the search after protests against the task group’s proposed site in Monkton Park.
But leader of the task group, Coun Desna Allen, remained optimistic. After the meeting, she insisted: “We do hope to deliver a skate park.”
She told the meeting there was nothing in law to preclude them from looking again at Monkton Park, where the original skate park stood 12 years ago until it was dismantled because of complaints by nearby householders.
But Monkton Park resident Richard Taylor said it was unbelievable the council was considering repeating its mistakes.
He said: “Monkton Park became the centre for drug use.
“Needles were found in the park, thrown in the gardens.
“People were intimidated by gangs of young men.
“Don’t close your eyes and think it will be different this time.”
Sadlers Mead resident Alison Lewin said: “We don’t want a load of drug dealers here every night screaming.”
Former youth worker Gary Woodland, 35, told the Gazette he found the speakers’ views of young people stereotypical.
He is so confident that Chippenham will secure a skate park, he set up a new skateboard shop in the town in November.
Coun Chris Caswill, Wiltshire councillor for Monkton ward, also said Monkton Park was not the right area.
He said: “They need somewhere where they can be noisy and free to express themselves.
“We don’t want somewhere where there is a constant source of tension.”
He criticised the town council for rejecting the option of Stanley Park.
“If the town council were more amenable to Stanley Park the skate park could have been up and running by now,” he said.
Jim Bell, of Esmead, suggested the field next to the builders’ yard, near Herman Miller, would be suitable.
Councillors voted to review other options but will still commission a noise assessment in Monkton Park, near to the Olympiad, at a cost of £900.
A first assessment of the Island Park site, costing £1,800, has been thrown aside because it was said to be unclear and contradictory.
Coun Caswill told the Gazette the report was not taken into consideration because of a lack of clarity.
He said: “I think it is a complete waste of money.
“I’m surprised that they’ve just written it off without trying to get value for money.”
Almost two thirds (628) of 1,000 people responded to a survey in support of Island Park.