Residents' anger at skatepark go-ahead

OPPONENTS of a controversial skateboard park have strongly criticised planning chiefs for giving the £140,000 project the go-ahead.Suffolk Coastal District Council's south area development control sub committee last week granted planning permission for the facility to be built at the southern end of Orwell Green, Felixstowe.

OPPONENTS of a controversial skateboard park have strongly criticised planning chiefs for giving the £140,000 project the go-ahead.

Suffolk Coastal District Council's south area development control sub committee last week granted planning permission for the facility to be built at the southern end of Orwell Green, Felixstowe.

However there has been fierce debate in the town over where the park should be sited with many preferring a location closer to the seafront and further away from the homes of elderly residents.

Barry Farr, chairman of Cavendish Park Community Association, said the committee had “totally dismissed” any concerns about anti-social behaviour, noise and vandalism as well as the lack of suitable facilities such as toilets and first aid.

He said: “The complete and utter disdain the committee exhibited towards this local community and especially the elderly living in sheltered accommodation is, in my view, appalling.

“Once again the short-sightedness of this council has done a disservice to the people of Felixstowe.

Most Read

“They may counter that I am only saying all of this because we lost but I didn't look upon it as a win or lose situation. I looked for commonsense to prevail and the best interests of Felixstowe and its young people to be served. I'm disappointed it wasn't - not for my sake but for the community at large.

“We are not against all young people in the town but when members of the committee go home they will not be wondering if their garden wall is still standing or if they will be kept awake at night by skateboarders or whether their elderly mother has suffered verbal abuse.”

The 20m x 30m skateboard and BMX park, which will be open between 9am and 8.30pm, will be 1.2m below ground and surrounded on three sides by a 1.8m high landscape bund in an effort to reduce noise and the visual impact.

There will also be two 8m floodlights and the area will be monitored by CCTV cameras as well as being subject to an alcohol ban to try and reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviour.

Rae Leighton, Suffolk Coastal portfolio holder for community and well being, said the sub-committee came to its unanimous decision after considering all the evidence, which included a site visit.

He said: “I would also like to point out this scheme has the support of Felixstowe Town Council which has allocated £30,000 towards the total costs. Crucially it was the site preferred by the police, whose advice we sought as being the best for safety and surveillance.

“I believe this project is entirely consistent with the policies of both the district and county council to provide more facilities for young people whose aspirations are too often largely ignored.

“I am hopeful that the young people themselves will take 'ownership' of the scheme and will come forward and take responsibility for ensuring the scheme is a success. They deserve nothing less.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter