Skate park gets go-ahead

RESIDENTS have today lost their battle to stop a controversial £140,000 skatepark being built on open space near their homes.Despite a barrage of protests, councillors have agreed the park for skateboard and BMX enthusiasts should be constructed on Orwell Green - though admitting there is no ideal site in the town.

RESIDENTS have today lost their battle to stop a controversial £140,000 skatepark being built on open space near their homes.

Despite a barrage of protests, councillors have agreed the park for skateboard and BMX enthusiasts should be constructed on Orwell Green - though admitting there is no ideal site in the town.

For youngsters though it is a dream come true - the end of more than 20 years of campaigning for a skatepark.

It was a campaign started by the parents of many of those enjoying the activity today, and now they need to raise the rest of the money - they are about half-way towards the target - to see it built.

Councillor Doreen Savage was today “absolutely delighted” by the approval by Suffolk Coastal council's development control sub committee.

“It's been more than 20 years coming and I think this is such a good result for the young people of our town who want and need this facility.

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“I think we need to be more positive towards are young people. They are not all involved in anti-social activities and vandalism and most are well-behaved and responsible. Other skateparks have provided excellent and well-used facilities and this will do the same.”

The 20m by 30m skatepark will be sunk into the ground at the green off Grange Farm Avenue and be surrounded by noise-dampening earthworks and landscaping.

There will be CCTV and an alcohol ban, and council leisure officers say where similar facilities have been introduced elsewhere there has been a drop in anti-social behaviour.

Residents though are not happy - and are not convinced it will be policed properly, and fear it will attract large gangs of troublesome and noisy youths from all over the town.

Councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “Residents are not against a skatepark but feel this is entirely the wrong place for one.

“It will ruin what was designed as a village green and is not a formal recreation area. It is too close to homes and should be somewhere where visitors can use it, part of the resort.”

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

What do you think of the Orwell Green site for a skatepark? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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