Skatepark

Some 18 months ago following representations from residents and young people I, and my Lib Dem colleagues, began to look into the possibility of setting up a skatepark

Some 18 months ago following representations from residents and young people I, and my Lib Dem colleagues, began to look into the possibility of setting up a skatepark in Portishead. It soon emerged that there was indeed popular support for such a project and in August last year the town council, with cross party support set up a working party to 'Identify a site', 'Manage the project' and 'To seek funding'.It soon became clear that some funding sources would not give to councils and so the town council, again with cross party agreement, supported the establishment of the Portishead Skatepark Project (PSP), separate from the council, with a grant of £200.Since then the project team have made considerable progress. * 650 young people responded to the 2,000 consultation forms circulated in the schools and over 400 indicated that they would use a skatepark. * Nearly 60 children and adults attended the first meeting of the Skatepark Users Group where, amongst other things, they decided on various ways in which they could raise money. They also decided to produce a video to support the funding applications (professional help being given free).* Burleigh Press, in Harbour Road, have printed 8,000 Resident Consultation leaflets, free of charge and, so far, 420 households have indicated (98.4 per cent) support and have given their views on where the park should be sited. * A web site has been set up (www.Portisheadsk8.org.uk) which has already attracted favourable comment.And then, last Wednesday, at its 2007/08 budget setting meeting, the town council decided not to allocate any specific money to the project. I proposed that £25,000 be included and every Conservative on the council voted against it and decided not to discuss the matter further. This proposal would have added 6p per week to the tax bill for a Band D household and would represent an increase of 0.6 per cent on the council tax.This decision came as a severe blow to the dedicated team who have been working on this project. It fully expected the council, which initiated this enterprise, to give some financial support. And the kids, who understand more than we give them credit for sometimes, will be wondering what is happening. However, it has been decided not to give up, as could easily have happened and to press on regardless. As one member of the team put it "we will get there without them" and with the continued support of the people of Portishead we will.Cllr John S Clark - Nightingale Rise, Portishead


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