Bourne skatepark backed by town council despite concerns

The final design of Bourne Dimension Skatepark on the Abbey Lawn, by Wheelscape.
The final design of Bourne Dimension Skatepark on the Abbey Lawn, by Wheelscape.

Plans for a £200,000 skatepark have been backed nearly three decades after they were first raised despite critics’ fears.

Bourne Town Council supported plans for a concrete skatepark on the Abbey Lawn in the town at its meetingthis week.

Youngsters first raised the idea of a skatepark 27 years ago and the saga has dragged on since then as they sought a piece of land and acceptable plans.

The Dimension Skatepark Committee was set up and it was offered a 42 x 32 metre plot of land on the Abbey Lawn by Bourne United Charities for the venture.

Designs for the planned facility cater for skateboarders, BMX riders, rollerskaters and scooter users. The scheme though has attracted critics who feel that it should not be located on the Abbey Lawn.

Members of the town council’s highways and planning committee debated the scheme at a meeting on Tuesday which drew about 50 residents.

Supporters and opponents voiced strong comments both for and against the idea, but it has now received support from the town council who were consultees on the plan.

BMX rider Zac Pinchin, 23, said: “There will always be an interest in this facility and we have to do everything that we can to make this happen.

“We need this. Some people in the past have had to learn to ride in a car park and that is not always safe.

“It would be a shame if this was not in the town.”

He was supported by resident Joyce Turner said: “I feel strongly that this facility should be provided for the young people of Bourne.

“Many children these days are indoors on X-Boxes and we should be encouraging them to go out and play.”

The committee has worked closely with planning officers at South Kesteven District Council and it has looked at the work done by the Stamford Skatepark Committee.

To build the facility in Stamford the team behind it had to overcome numerous hurdles before it was opened on the Recreation Ground in December 2013 after five years of fundraising.

Coun Phil Knowles said: “I instinctively support the Bourne skatepark.

“Is Abbey Lawn just for genteel sports like cricket or is it also for people who wear their baseball caps backwards as well?”

Mayor of Bourne Coun Paul Fellows added: “I think it’s totally needed and we as a town can make it a first rate facility.”

Coun Colin Pattison said: “If it’s managed properly it will be a wonderful facility.

“I believe it’s in the right place. It will upset some people and it will not please everyone no matter where it is.”

The majority of fellow councillors agreed that it should be backed.

Some critics felt that Bourne needed a skatepark and thought it was a fantastic idea and wanted it to happen. They were, however, unhappy at the Abbey Lawn location and felt another site was needed.

Resident Gill Hurst said: “Parking along Abbey Road, next to the Abbey Lawn, was chaotic last summer.

“Parents will ferry in young people from across Bourne and from further afield. It will lead to an increase in this parking problem.”

Other people wanted the skatepark plan scrapped.

Resident Julia Lister said: “There will be no supervision as there will be a wall five feet high and 100 feet long at the skatepark.

“This is against advice from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

“If the skatepark is overlooked then there is some informal supervision.

“RoSPA says that the activities for the skatepark will have a high risk of injury.

“If the wall is there young people could lie injured and no-one will be able to see them.”

She added that the wall could create cover for issues with drink and sex abuse.

Others were concerned about the loss of green land, the close proximity of houses to the skatepark and potential anti-social problems caused by users.

Despite backing the plan, which moves to the district council for a final decision, the town councillors want talks on how to manage the facility.