Skatepark plans take a dive

PUBLISHED: 12:08 24 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:30 24 May 2010

EXCITING plans to install a second skatepark in Portishead may have seriously hit the skids - after councillors failed to earmark cash for the project

EXCITING plans to install a second skatepark in Portishead may have seriously hit the skids - after councillors failed to earmark cash for the project.At a heated meeting of Portishead and North Weston Town Council on Wednesday night to discuss the annual precept for the town, members agreed not to earmark the proposed £45,000 for the skateboard project in a bid to reduce the budget.The Liberal Democrat group had proposed a budget of £375,897 for the year 2007/8 - an increase of nearly 24 per cent on last year.But the move to slash the precept to £304,212 - an increase of 4.4 per cent - by the Conservative members was slammed, with councillors saying it was a 'spend nothing, do nothing budget'.Skatepark leaders now say the initiative could fold without the cash to progress the scheme.Portishead Skatepark Project chairman John S Clark said: "We may now have to fold the skatepark group. Without the support of the town council we will not survive or be able to take this project forward. It is very disappointing."But other councillors said they were unwilling to commit such a large amount of funds to the project when a site for the new skatepark had yet to be agreed.Councillor Arthur Terry said: "I find it difficult to allocate a large amount to this project when not even a site has been agreed."Even if a site is identified, it would then need planning permission. We are at least 18 months away from starting this project."Councillors agreed to set aside £10,000 in the budget for 'youth recreational incentives' and said money could be used for the preparatory work for the skatepark.Cllr Terry added: "The skatepark project group is not likely to want the money in the next financial year, so why take it off the taxpayer at the moment?"Councillors also agreed not to put aside £30,000 towards a revamp of the children's play area at the Lake Grounds until next year.A total of £70,000 was earmarked, however, for the new community building at the Village Quarter.Councillor David Pasley said: "The cost of living is at an all time high and it would be immoral to demand even more money by putting the council precept up."Band D properties will be paying £36.92 annual precept in Portishead.

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