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Ex-councillor vows to fight on for Botley skatepark
A FORMER parish council chairman who resigned because of disputes has pledged to fight on for a skatepark in Botley.
Briony Newport said she would join campaigners to keep lobbying North Hinksey Parish Council after it rejected skate plans last month.
And she said when elections were held in 2015, the issue could force out the majority group of seven who rejected the scheme.
Mrs Newport spoke out as it emerged Neil Clark has also complained to Vale of White Horse District about fellow councillor David Kay and is now refusing to talk to him.
A petition with 886 signatures called for a park at Upper Louie Memorial Field to replace a skate bowl that was destroyed by arsonists in 2009.
But the majority group said the field – which the council owns – is the wrong location, could be a magnet for trouble and was beyond its financial means.
Mrs Newport quit the council in November because of disputes about the skatepark and because she was unhappy about management of the field’s copse and fen.
She said yesterday: “I wasn’t being listened to as a parish councillor.
“They only communicate with each other, they don’t talk to any councillor who is not a member in the group.”
Mrs Newport – a member since 1995 – said: “They tried to score points and put you down and, quite honestly, life is more than the parish council.”
Mrs Newport, who served as chairman from 2007 to 2011, was adamant the skatepark would eventually be built and said fed-up voters could force a change at the ballot box.
The January 24 parish council meeting saw stormy exchanges between councillors, with attacks on the working party report which opposed the plan.
Chairman Alan Pritchard frequently banged his gavel to restore order amid interruptions from the public.
Majority group member Mr Clark revealed he had made a complaint about councillor Mr Kay to the Vale council, which is responsible for standards.
Mr Clark said he will not be “entering into any communication with (Mr Kay) on any level”.
Neither would talk to the Oxford Mail about the row, although Mr Clark did say: “There are big divisions right the way through.
“If the majority of parishioners support it [the skatepark] I am happy to support it. I am not anti or pro.
“The petition did not represent that majority support.”
An election for Mrs Newport’s seat will be held if requested by at least 10 voters through the district council by February 20.