Author Topic: West Swindon Skate Board Park  (Read 37421 times)

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Offline Richard Symonds

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West Swindon Skate Board Park
« on: October 17, 2013, 12:59:05 PM »
Is Nick Martin Trying to Bulldoze his Skate Park onto the former Saltway School fields site?

Or is he really going to allow full debate on the alternatives?

As many people may know Nick Martin in his capacity as Councillor for Shaw decided that he wanted to locate a skate park on this site.

He determined this without any form of consultation on the basis that the 'kids' locally thought it was a good idea.

This has caused a considerable degree of consternation in the area around Tewksbury Way and Middleaze Drive. 

Although another Councillor, who lives locally, says he has spoken to Children in the area and they say they want a skate park at Saltway I have yet to find any adult, apart from the Councillor, who is in favour of this scheme or for that matter any child.  Yes, some children have said that they would like one at this proposed site but almost in the same sentence they say they would be happy to go to the Link if one were to be built there.  In other words children will say whatever you want them to say.

Now presently the matter is in the hands of officers who are looking at a few sites including Greendown School, sorry I mean Lydiard Academy one of whose governors just happens to be Nick Martin. 

Knowing Nick Martin as I do he rarely fails to get his way and as his sights are set on Saltway I believe the officers recommendation will be for that location.

This subject has become very heated between some of the objectors and Nick Martin and I personally witnessed NM losing it completely with one of them and threatened legal action if he persisted in his comments!!  This happened at the last but one West Swindon Panel Meeting and I understand something similar happened at the previous one as well.

It must be stressed that I believe that there is no objection to a Skate Park for the Children but that it must be built at the right location to satisfy the requirement of minimum interference to the community, to be fully policeable and be safe as it is to be a 24 hour facility.  Saltway in the opinion of the objectors satisfies non of these criteria.

I have requested help in putting up the information pack that has been provided to Councillors in respect of the planning application which has yet to be heard.


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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 07:13:37 PM »
I thought as reference was made about Skate Parks and the West Swindon Forum readers would be interested in the following letter in the Advertiser

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/10734571.Letters_to_the_editor/

Letters to the editor

5:30pm Friday 11th October 2013 in Letters
Change due at SBC

In my entire life I have never written so many letters to the press as I have this year with regard to SBC, yet I feel compelled to do so once more.

In the October 8 edition of the Swindon Advertiser we have an article highlighting the rise in debt charges by £1 million, yet the council proposes the expenditure of £140,000 on two skate parks, which are opposed by local residents and when five sites already exist within Swindon.

This, despite cuts to children’s centres, bus services, reductions of grounds maintenance and street cleaning, not to mention staff reductions which cause great problems to the families affected.

Additionally, as presented at the last West Swindon Forum, costs have created a need to sell off all the leisure centres and facilities hitherto run by SBC. Every alternative suggestion that constituents make seems to be met with complete inflexibility and a lack of willingness, or is it ability, to change the direction of their planning. This appears to display a level of financial planning and control which can only be described as totally inept, unfortunately with our ratepayers’ money!

On October 7, I attended a meeting of the Standards Committee in which the lack of support for complainants was highlighted. On October 8, we had the Swindon Mayor highlighted yet again, this time on the front page, as the result of yet another complaint being investigated by the council, at presumably the cost of another significant bill from an independent consultant.

Once more I ask; does not Swindon, generally a town of hard working young families, deserve better than this for their future? Is it not time for some councillors to retire, with thanks for their past service, to make way for new blood with views more in line with the long term needs of Swindon’s developing population?

Arthur Beltrami Spencer Close Swindon


Would we build Skate Parks to privatize them twelve months later?

No I don't think so because no business would actually want them, would they?

So Council Tax Payers are saddled with the debt to build them and maintain them, whilst other Leisure Assets are sold off!
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Offline MARK_F

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 11:22:29 PM »
Richard - I'm a resident in Middleleaze directly effected if the skate park goes ahead at the Saltway centre.  I did meet with councillor Martin to discuss my concerns and they were rubbished dismissed and the subject changed every time to subjects about him- "planning for my retirement I bought a house in pioneer close and one on Pearl road, I bought a bit of land near that property and the neighbours put out bunting" blah blah

Only after the waste of 30 mins of my time and a brief google search did I find the reason- he was the champion of this bizarre project. I gave him a fair opportunity to discuss and felt pretty disappointed to be let down by the chap!

I then next saw him at the locality meeting where he bullied and belittled a member of the public- I walked out at that point as it was like a pantomime a shouting match where he chaired and abused the use of the microphone to shout louder.

Back on track to the thread yes I agree it is his personal project- the child (at the time of requesting the skate park) just wanted a skate park- didn't care where and doesn't care where- Saltway field was mayor martins campaign.

In regards to the Saltway fields and the transformation from school field with boundary I am astonished to find the following never took place
1. no change of use applied for from school field to public space
2. The boundary fences removed and new boundary fences placed in a different place no documented literature to notify the change.
3. No planning application sought for the new boundary fence as clearly in excess of 2m

As a local resident I do feel this is one mans crusade to build this Park and if the funds are available then to build one away from anyone's back gardens especially if there is no access controls in place- but again this has been non negotiable (even though the Police have recommended fencing and controlled access). It seems he is prepared to stop at nothing and bypass any system in place to succeed with this skatepark at saltway fields Despite some of the local peoples objections.  He has used skating social media to drum up support from as far away as Peterborough and Wales but luckily the planning application has been withdrawn but doesn't seem to make the slightest bit of difference

The use of £60k for a skatepark from some locality fund seems ridiculous as in one article there is no money to fix a freshbrook play park where a child broke a limb (local link and adver) then a short time later £60k for a skate park. I believe the mum threatened legal action.

I just hope when people think about putting a x in a box they acting accordingly- I for one will be making the councillors work for me a lot more before ticking a box.

This is my first post and not a troll but passionate about my local community which should be helped to eliminate the problems in it not attract more (that's not aimed at the skaters just the muppets who have nothing better to do than cause problems)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 11:29:33 PM »
Welcome to TS Mark :)

I also live in Shaw and am similarly dismayed by Cllr Martin's manner towards those who disagree with vanity visions and legacy politics..

Next year I'll be voting for an independent in shaw.

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk


Offline MARK_F

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2013, 11:43:33 PM »
Thanks Geoff, the worst bit is out of the three shaw councillors Nick was the first to reply to my email, Perkins only got involved after "riot number 1" at the locality meeting and this Williams dude is still well under the radar- does he actually exist? Anyone seen him- only the old picture of him in front of the link centre have I seen.

Before the Saltway planning was withdrawn I was happy to see that quite a few of Mayor Martins immediate neighbours had also lodged objections so I doubt he will be too popular in the idyllic Gartons road area should this go ahead. However after his latest comments the entire SN postcode may not offer him refuge either.

Sadly it will be another white elephant like the other skateparks in Swindon - as the mayor told me "£60k doesn't get you much concrete" and "nah that won't happen" as me and my 3 month old baby were avoiding the broken glass and empty drug bags

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 06:51:53 AM »
Thanks Geoff, the worst bit is out of the three shaw councillors Nick was the first to reply to my email, Perkins only got involved after "riot number 1" at the locality meeting and this Williams dude is still well under the radar- does he actually exist? Anyone seen him- only the old picture of him in front of the link centre have I seen.

Before the Saltway planning was withdrawn I was happy to see that quite a few of Mayor Martins immediate neighbours had also lodged objections so I doubt he will be too popular in the idyllic Gartons road area should this go ahead. However after his latest comments the entire SN postcode may not offer him refuge either.

Sadly it will be another white elephant like the other skateparks in Swindon - as the mayor told me "£60k doesn't get you much concrete" and "nah that won't happen" as me and my 3 month old baby were avoiding the broken glass and empty drug bags

Cllr Martin usually replies quickly on 'first contact'.  Like the various captains of the USS Enterprise he's keen to find out if you're 'on his side'.  If not you're initially an alien, but moved quickly into the orange overalls of an enemy combatant if you challenge or contradict his decrees.

Cllr Perkins, a.k.a 'The Perkinator' elsewhere in Swindon, is better known as the Invisible Man of Shaw.  He lives in Okebourne Park nr the GWH and rarely visits Shaw except to open netball courts and for photo opportunities for election leaflets.

Cllr Williams is the best of what's left and will sometimes manage to deliver when the other two can't or won't.  He's a good deal smarter than the other two and usually knows when to steer well clear of politically damaging issues of which Nick Martin's crack skate park is another one.  The only real glaring error Cllr Williams has made in Shaw was the creation of a political sock-puppet residents association which receives public money but does little (that I can see) except deflect criticism of West Swindon's Conservative Cllr's.  It's chairman doesn't like me much.

Cllr Martins regularly plays the numbers game with votes - he'll happily piss off 200 residents as long as he can deliver a leaflet to the remaining 7,800'ish residents of SHaw telling them what a wonderful chap he is for 'delivering' a skate park for their kiddie winkles.  The same political/PR methodology has been regularly employed across the Borough, see the Croft School for a prime example.   

I don't object to a West Swindon Skate Park - as long as it's placed adjacent to the Link Centre.

I completely agree about the amount of broken glass, (and I'll raise you litter and overhanging shrubbery!), on the footpaths and cycleways of Shaw ward.  it would be nice if Cllr Martin would put down his chainsaw, step out of Shaw community forest and pick up a dust pan and brush, (and perhaps a pair of sequiturs), and do something useful instead of abusive for a change.  I'd do it myself except I'm usually too busy picking twigs and thorns out of my face, glass out of my tyres and mending punctures to deal with the cause......and besides, we're paying the highest rate of council tax rate ever for the lowest ever amount of municipal maintenance and upkeep, political responsibility and transparently honest local governance.

So endeth the Sunday Sermon....... :)


Offline jennyb

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 01:04:07 PM »
This 'proposal' and the Croft School 'proposal' have much in common.

Politicians who confuse civic offices with Mount Olympus.

Time for those politicians who don't condone this modus operandi to come forward and speak up.

I wonder how many officers were bullied on this one?

Who'll be Spartacus?


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It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 09:02:28 PM »
The skate park is back in the Adver again:-

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10806845.West_Swindon_skate_park_row_rages_on/

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 08:48:24 AM »
Having Completed the Survey I would comment that this is a Typical Swindon Borough Council Survey which leads you the  contributor to the Decision they have already taken.  They will, of course, tell you otherwise.  I have cut and pasted my example:

8. Please tick any of these statements which reflect your views




I agree

Agree to some extent



I would use this site but wouldn't use the others

*Please tick any of these statements which reflect your views I would use this site but wouldn't use the others I agree

I would use this site but wouldn't use the others Agree to some extent


This site is the furthest from where I live

This site is the furthest from where I live I agree

This site is the furthest from where I live Agree to some extent


This site is close to where I live

This site is close to where I live I agree

This site is close to where I live Agree to some extent


This site feels the safest for my children

This site feels the safest for my children I agree

This site feels the safest for my children Agree to some extent


This site is easy to reach

This site is easy to reach I agree

This site is easy to reach Agree to some extent


This site is the most suitable for West Swindon


The fact they do not have a disagree column is proof of my point!!

They have discounted Seventeen, yes Seventeen other sites and one of the ones they offer is, er, a Water Meadow!  I know because I walked across it last week and got wet feet.  Mind you with job creation with SCS I am sure they would appreciate the work.  Why did I go that way because the pedestrian subway under Mead Way was closed.  Why does this take so long?  Was Swindon Commercial Services the Contractor?

Anyway it will be interesting to see where this survey takes us, but I have not changed my mind and I expect our Nick will get his Agenda and it will be sited on Saltway.

I am now going to write to the Advertiser Dominic and would appreciate my letter being published please!
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 10:06:26 AM »
I am going to post the whole of the Article in yesterday's adver



http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10806845.West_Swindon_skate_park_row_rages_on/

West Swindon skate park row rages on

8:40pm Wednesday 13th November 2013 in News By Dominic Gilbert

Arthur Beltrami, front and other residents in The Prinnels, objecting to skate park plans near their homes

SKATEBOARDERS in Swindon have weighed into the raging debate over where to build one of the biggest skate parks in the town, as a consultation has begun on three potential sites.

Plans to construct the £60,000 park on the old Saltway school fields were withdrawn in September to await a noise report, while residents voiced their objections, with 80 complaints being lodged.

After considering a list of 20 potential sites around West Swindon, the council has now recommended Saltway Fields, Rivermead, and Shaw Ridge to go to public consultation.

Arthur Beltrami, 76, of Sparcells, has fought the plans since they were introduced for Saltway, and said ahead of the consultation: “If they do bring Saltway back onto the table with 80 residents against and one for, it would be shocking.”

Peter Corrie, 49, of Sparcells, said: “The consultation is a farce, and the skate park will go ahead at Saltway no matter what.

“We expected Saltway to be included on the shortlist, and it seems like nothing will be done to stop it going ahead there.”

But skateboarders have spoken of the real need for the park. Mark James, 19, of Highworth, helped with the design of the project, and has hit back at allegations of anti-social behaviour.

“Skateboarders in Swindon do not have a decent skate park,” he said. “The ones we have are just not up to scratch.

“A lot of them have old-style ramps which move around, and get really slippery. This would be much safer.

“We are not going there to make trouble, and skateboarding is not going to be done after it is dark. If things are going to be done after dark it will be done if there is a skate park there or not.

“There may be skate parks in Swindon but none like this. It is not just about the size, it is also about the quality.”

Martin Hambridge, parks manager at Swindon Council, said: “The main criteria in approving the selected sites was in terms of distance to housing.

Saltway Fields is the only site that has an unlimited line of sight for police supervision.

Mayor Nick Martin (Con, Shaw), proposed the original plans for the site at Saltway.

“We have defended Saltway from house building, and it took a bit of arm wrestling from our group to save it.,” he said.

“We have introduced five-a-side pitches around West Swindon, and now police reports find the typical crime rate is down because the young people have somewhere to go.”

The consultation began on 12 November and will run until 15 December. A drop in session will be held on 30 November at the Link Library from 11am to 2pm, and the outcome will be reported back to residents on 13 January.


and I have just sent the following letter to the Advertiser


The Proposed Skate Park in West Swindon
 
I write with reference to the article on this subject in yesterday’s adver.
 
The first point I would like to make is the protestors live in Spencer Close, which is in The Prinnels not in Sparcells which is more than a mile away!
 
The cost, as reported, to build this Skate Park is £60,000 and it is believed that maintenance costs could amount to a further £10,000 per annum.  At the West Swindon Forum The Link Centre, as a site for this facility, was discounted as it is now the subject of a tender for the privatisation of our Leisure Facilities. 
 
The Link is the only site in West Swindon which is a win win situation.  It is central for bus connections, other sports facilities, shops, toilet facilities, emergency access and something that is most important to the objectors to Saltway and that is it would be visible to the police.  As the skate park is to be open twenty four hours a day the objectors believe this is the only way to avoid any anti-social behaviour .  Non of the other two sites can offer any of these benefits.   Martin Hambridge’s comment that ‘Saltway Fields is the only site that an unlimited line of sight for Police supervision.’  is only correct if they actually go there, which they would have to do by exception, but as they operate from the Link they are already on hand to deal with any situation..
 
So why is the most obvious site not included and why is the Skate Park not part of the privatisation package?  Is it more a case that it has to be excluded because it would represent nothing but cost to any potential bidder and therefore is better left to the Council Tax Payers of Swindon?  This rather flies in the face of the desperate need to save £15m from next year’s budget, doesn’t it and so I question any need for it at all.
 
Richard Symonds
The Bramptons
Shaw
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 02:41:42 PM »
I don't know who this is, but they certainly have it in for our Mayor!!

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10806845.West_Swindon_skate_park_row_rages_on/

Mr_Stig says...

Glad to see the mayor has recovered from the bout of Foot in Mouth disease shame his inner monologue valve still hasn’t been repaired. Do the honourable thing and resign you cretin!


and it has been suggested to me that the Labour Party are seeking a special meeting of Council to demand his resignation.
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 07:16:52 PM »
This isn't my ward - so I can't claim to be able to speak with any authority regarding the specific potential issues, but I'm a little confused by this whole controversy.

What exactly is it about this site which makes it so supposedly unsuitable?

I ask, as it seems pretty clear to me that there is a dearth of positive things for young people to do in Swindon. I at first thought that it was something to do about the proposed location - but looking at the only map I've been able to find, I'm somewhat at a loss as to the nature of the local objections, as the park appears to be a long way from any properties...



Is the above map accurate..?  ???

Now, I enter this topic with trepidation, as I'm in the forefront of objecting to developments on my patch which stand to have a marked negative impact. But again, I'm at a loss as to why this proposal is seen to have more negative impact than the existing playing field - or any other proposed play-park, cycle track, sports hall etc. which would appeal and attract young people. The nearest gardens appear some way off - and houses even further.

I don't want to spoil anyone's fun putting the boot into Nick Martin, but I fail to understand what exactly would make this a 'vanity' project? Its hardly a news headline grabber, and given that the people benefiting are likely to be under 18 and not voters, hardly politically beneficial either. isn't it entirely possible that its just a nice idea? Whilst I'm not exactly down 'wid da yoot', it seems pretty clear through social media that Swindon's skating community are very pro the plans at this location...

What exactly is the objection here?
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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 07:28:21 PM »
yes I have to agree Tobes - it seem's like a perfect place to put a facility like that.

Offline MARK_F

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 07:39:14 PM »
Tobes

The map shows the revised location and is also out of date-  the previous location was approx on the bottom left blue cross at the end of the playground.  the map is out of date as it doesn't show the MUGA and the result of the removal of a lot of trees.  See a previous shaw conservatives newsletter for rambo with the chainsaw.

The houses at the bottom of the picture have been cropped out very well and the mention of removing a large amount of Hedgerow out for access hasn't been mentioned either.

I think half the problem has been the way its been handled rather than the fundamental problem-  following it as a local resident any suggestion i.e controlled access etc was dismissed without discussion.

I agree with Richard the result has been decided and they are just trying to justify the choice now.  Look at how it was sent to planning- Planning was withdrawn after a battering of complaints.  No doubt they will keep doing questionnaires etc until they get the result they want.

Offline MARK_F

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 07:48:27 PM »
This was on a previous article comments

http://www.guest202010.tumblr.com

Offline Tobes

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2013, 08:04:38 PM »
Cheers Mark.

So I know what's what then, there is a new location (where on the map)?

And there is mention of some removal of hedgerow - but no confirmation of that or from where...?

Quote
I think half the problem has been the way its been handled

Ah, never EVER underestimate SBCs ability to screw up a consultation over planning! The problem is that in the vacuum of information which makes any logical sense, people fill it with fears which aren't always necessarily fair or probable (though  understandable).

Personally speaking, I think some of the residents concerns outlined are either a little spurious looking - or potentially easily mitigated. I guess that's where the importance of two-way communication really comes in. Nick Martin's fault I am guessing lies less with the concept of the skate park, but the probable combative way in which he has handled enquiries or objections rather than dealing with them respectfully or taking them on board (?).

A skate park should be no more a source of anti-social behaviour or disturbance than any other piece of public space. Given that its clearly hundreds of yards from the nearest house and not exactly on a beaten track, I can't imagine that its any more likely to become a late night haunt of rowdy teens than anywhere else...?  :-\ (in fact, likely to be less likely I'd say, as once young people value somewhere, they tend to look after their own interests)
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Offline MARK_F

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2013, 08:32:39 PM »
Hi Tobes

Sorry haven't explained it too well, i assume the black dot now indicates the new position of the proposed Site (the previous location was right at the end of the play ground as per planning application)

the map is out of date because a lot of the Saltway the trees have been cut down, don't quote me but i'm fairly sure only the perimeter trees in the picture are still there (following the brook to the far left), so on the map the trees have been cut away where the 2 different coloured fields meet(and most trees inside that area) Running adjacent with the outline of the school is a new 2.4m fence ( £5K paid for by the council i understand) and John Lewis paid for the MUGA / basketball hoops.

Also access to build the site was going to be from the main road at the bottom so removing the "Sound barrier" they are claiming will stop any noise (between Skatepark and Spencer Close)

Just makes me laugh when Planning requested / received a report from the Crime prevention officer requesting access control and a fence.  Not liking the report the Local Beat officer was asked to write a letter supporting the skatepark?  Just unbelievable and the questionnaire is just as shocking
 

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2013, 09:08:37 PM »
As others have asked, why, at a time when the council are trying to off load every leisure activity in the town onto a private landlord, do they want to keep this in council hands, its going to cost approx. £60,000 to build and another £10,000 a year to run and maintain, is it that the new 'owners' of the leisure activities don't want to pay out the cash or just tough tax payers cough up..

Offline Tobes

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2013, 09:26:42 PM »
Ko - they still have a budget and a responsibility to deliver sports facilities for the community. £60k + £10K upkeep is absolutely nothing compared to the huge costs keeping loads of under used stuff going (like the numerous subsidised golf clubs for example!)... A skate park on the other hand WILL get used, LOTS!!!

If it gives a few kids something more positive to do than simply hanging around in bus shelters or smoking spliffs under the bandstand down at the Wyvern, it seems like money well spent to me...
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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Is the Saltway Skate Park Nick Martin's Personal Vanity pRoject?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 09:47:43 PM »
couldn't agree more, but if there are facilities at say the link, where it could be built, and then have the protection of many people in the area, toilets for the skaters to use, police being active in the area, then surely that would be a better site, than out in the sticks..