Residents claim lights will increase poor behaviour
Plans to illuminate Exeter's new skate park will attract rowdy youths who have no interest in skating, according to some local residents.
Work began on the facility at Arena Park last Monday, although planning permission has yet to be granted, after the old skate park came to the end of its usable life after 10 years' use.
Resident John Bolsey said: “Most nights there will be youngsters hanging around at the skatepark, those using the facility as it is meant to be used are no problem. However, on many nights there is loud music being played presumably where ‘ghetto blasters’ are taken into the park.
“In the absence of other places to gather that are lit, this proposal will obviously attract youngsters simply as a place to gather, regardless of any intention to skateboard or use scooters, and this will mean an increase in the use of stereo’s taken to the site and therefore more noise nuisance as a result.”
Mr P. G. English added: “It’s fair to say that genuine skaters are probably not responsible for all the other anti-social behaviour issues surrounding it. Yet these type of facilities seem to attract other types who have nothing to do with skating.
“The existing skate park is often use by youths to party and create noise, so therefore what times do you intend it should be used for genuine skaters as there needs to be a cut-off time?”
Mrs J. Montandon said that she was pleased to hear about the new skatepark but questioned how the behaviour of people using the skatepark would be monitored as she has been unable to take her grandchildren to the existing park in the evening as ‘about five boys were sat using drugs and not the equipment'.
The application says lights will go off at 9.30 pm, which will send a clear message that the skatepark is closed, and that the car park gates will be locked overnight. It adds: “Increased use of the area by skaters has been proven to have a deterrent effect on anti-social behaviour, due in no small part to social media, and skaters have no interest in damaging skate parks.
Maverick Industries have been appointed by Exeter City Council to build it, and it will include ramps, quarterpipes, flatbanks, ledges and rails, and the plaza style design will also feature a viewing/seating area overlooking the action.
The councillor responsible for the park, David Harvey (pictured below, left, with council leader Pete Edwards at the site), says the city council had consulted with skaters to find out what equipment they required. More than 300 people took part in the consultation.
Work is expected to take around 14 weeks to complete. In the meantime, other skate parks will be available to use at Flowerpot Playing Fields, Heavitree Pleasure Ground, Station Road Playing Fields. n Pinhoe and Topsham Recreation Ground.