£80,000 skate park in Highworth approved at last
A LONG awaited games area and skate park could finally go ahead in Highworth after being granted planning permission from Swindon Council.
Youths in the area have been calling for a facility to be built for them for almost two decades, and following a survey conducted by Swindon Youth services two years ago, plans were drawn up for a new park worth almost £80,000.
The decision will now go before the leisure committee at Highworth Town Council for approval on November 5, and is expected to pass despite numerous objections from residents.
Val McAuley, of Knowlands, said: “The main concern is the noise it will bring. This is a highly populated residential area, and it is going to be built directly behind most of these houses.
“The police are also not going to be able to monitor the skate park in their cars. There is no access on this half of the estate or on the other side, so they are going to have to park their cars and walk up to see what is going on.
“The police have said they have concerns about it and they do not think it is the best location, so it seems the council are ignoring their views.”
Val wants to see a place for the youths of the town to go, but points out other places could have been considered.
“We are going to have a large number of young people using it, particularly at night, so we need to think about the safety of people using it,” she added.
“You could say if there are going to be teenagers using the area that is great, and they do need somewhere to go, but I just do not think this is the right place.”
Phil Boulton, 59, of Spa Close, said: “It has been mishandled from the start. When the first consultation was done people nearer to the site than myself were not notified of the proposals. I had to give them copies of the letter.
“It is ill conceived in that it is in the wrong place. If it was set up by the rec centre it could be supervised and shut at night.
“I wrote a letter of objection to the council but they do not seem to have acknowledged it, because I got no response and it has not appeared on the website.”
Christina Lewis, 38, of Knowlands, is concerned the new facility will replace play areas for younger children.
“I worry there is nowhere for the under fives to go now,” she said. “We had a lovely play area for the young children, but now it is being given to the teenagers.
“They took away the school there to begin with, then the park and now they want to put in a park for teenagers.”
David Lane, clerk at Highworth Town Council, said: “We have now received permission to go ahead.
“It will be brought before the leisure committee meeting, where councillors will decide whether they want to take it up.
“No changes have been made to the original permission, and the only condition is for Highworth Town Council to carry it out. Private contractors would not be able to go ahead with it.”
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