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Not all on board for planned skate park in Chippenham
12:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in News
New plans to build a skate park in River Island Park, Chippenham, have met mixed reactions from councillors and residents.
The site, which lies in Monkton Park between the wall of Wilkinsons and the River Avon, is now the preferred option of the Skate Park Task Group set up to consult on the best possible sites.
Many residents have voiced concern that the site was not in an original list of 19 possible locations around the town for a new skate park.
But Coun Desna Allen, chairman of the task group, says Monkton Park was always a possible site.
At the beginning of the year, a site in the park close to the Olympiad was suggested as the best location, but this has now been rejected after the group consulted with Wiltshire Council’s public protection officer, who said he could not support it.
In a Chippenham Area Board meeting a week ago on Monday, leader of the council Jane Scott said she was becoming increasingly frustrated with the time the decision process was taking. She said: “I’m feeling extremely embarrassed and frustrated by this process.
“There is no one here speaking for the young people of Chippenham. I believe our young people deserve a skate park. “We have been talking about this for years. Monkton Park is a park for the whole community – not just for quiet people, but for our teenagers too.”
Coun Allen, who was not able to attend the meeting due to personal reasons, said: “I don’t often agree with the Conservative administration, but in this case I’m very grateful to Coun Scott for saying that the park is for everyone, and we do have to consider young people’s needs as well as those of all other residents.”
But Alan Gould, who lives in Sadlers Mead, said: “It’s just the wrong place for it entirely.
“Chippenham is in the path of a south-westerly wind, which carries the noise from the park directly to our homes. We could be facing noise until 10pm, or even throughout the night, as it may be that you cannot close the site.”
A policy adopted by the former North Wiltshire District Council, which has been continued by Wiltshire Council, set a noise limit for skate parks of zero decibels above background noise.
Coun Allen said that there was only one site that met noise criteria requirements, and that was River Island Park.
The task group have worked with three independent consultants to assess the suitability of each of the sites initially considered.
Coun Pete Hutton, who is the vice chairman of the task group, said nothing had yet been decided. He said: “River Island is quite a big area. We are still consulting people. “Once we have submitted a planning application, there will be even more opportunities for consultation.”