When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Battle rages over bid for a new skate park at Botley
BOTLEY should not get a new skate park because it would not be popular enough, attract trouble and be too costly, councillors have said.
Members of North Hinksey Parish Council have urged fellow councillors to reject residents’ calls for a skate park at its Louie Memorial Upper Field.
Its recreation and amenities committee said the Arnolds Way field was an “inappropriate location for any type of skate park”.
After considering a report by members on the plan, it said the costs would be “on a scale beyond the reach of this parish council”.
Residents, who have fought a long-running campaign for the facility, hit out, saying they could raise the money and it would get children off the streets.
Council members will be asked to make a decision on Thursday.
The park would go on the site of the Botley Bowl skate bowl, which was filled in after being wrecked when a van was dumped in it and set alight in 2009.
The working party report says the proposal “raises many concerns, including noise, anti-social behaviour [and] loss of environmental heritage”.
It cited a “time-unlimited cost stream” of £6,000 to £15,000 a year and would meet a “very narrow target demographic” of 10 to 19-year-old boys.
A 866-signature petition – with 736 from the council’s area of 4,580 residents – was handed to members in July. The report said the 58 boys who signed it represented 7.9 per cent of 10 to 19-year-olds, a “small proportion” which questioned its viability.
Skate parks “can be magnets for crime and disorder including bullying, graffiti, vandalism, litter, drinking” it said.
Thames Valley Police have yet to comment to the Oxford Mail.
Louie Memorial Field Area Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Voirrey Carr wrote to the council to raise fears over drink and drug use in the park.
She wrote: “People remembered the previous Bowl, which was an attraction for people outside the area rather than locals. They are very concerned that the past history of the skate park is being totally ignored. Under-age drinking is still a problem in the area.”
Parish council chairman Andrew Pritchard estimated the plan could put £7 on to the average band D council tax bill, from which it gets £36.87 this year.
But campaigner Claire Crawford said residents would raise money towards the £100,000 to £150,000 building costs. The Brodgen Close mum-of-two, 38, said: “If it’s just about the money, we will try as a community to raise as much money through whatever means.”
She said of the report: “It’s outrageous. They seem to be quite biased. All other areas in Oxfordshire seem to have skate parks, I don’t understand what the issue is.”
Sycamore Road resident Emily Hewson said: “The kids need something to do. There are very few places that young people in particular would like to go to keep fit and socialise.”
The council meeting is at Seacourt Hall, in Chapel Way, Botley at 8pm on Thursday.