Frustration over Ottery skate and BMX park delays

OTTERY S long-awaited skate and BMX park is in jeopardy of having to be abandoned according to one of the driving forces behind the project.

OTTERY'S long-awaited skate and BMX park is "in jeopardy of having to be abandoned" according to one of the driving forces behind the project.

Frustated by a lack of progress, Elli Pang, secretary of Ottery and Distirct Skate and BMX Group, said she has been "bounced around like a tennis ball" by authorities unwilling to take control of the stagnating bid.

Elli, who has been championing the park for more than three years, said: "I promised the youngsters of the town a skate park and feel ashamed we are incapable of doing it-somebody is taking the mickey."

"We have raised a third of the money and had every support from the town council, however, there are other stakeholders. We have been bounced around endlessly year after year after year by East Devon District Council and Devon County Council.

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"If it's not going to happen soon then we have to give it up. It's such a shame, we have gone so far and all it needs is some pulling together."

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: "All councillors are in agreement, the problem is who will take the land over. EDDC do every other skate park in the district and I don't see why they can't do Ottery's. There must be a way forward."

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Ottery's district councillor Ray Bloxham said the unique plans for the park, in Higher Thorne Farm Way, set it aside from others in the area. He added: " Others cost £40,000 to £60,000 and are a more simple issue. The skate park approved here is £150,000, it's a big project and a different ball game. If it was the same as in other towns it would have been delivered by now."

Cllr Bloxham said the fact four different parties, Leisure East Devon, Devon County Council, Est Devon District Council and The King's School, all have an interest in the land complicates things further.

Councillor Roger Giles expressed his disappointment at a lack of progress and said: "We have sat in here and criticised the kids- it is incumbent on us to deliver something for them. It seems a long to me and must be an inconceivable time to wait if your 13,14 or 15- this is drifting on for years. The town council must take it on itself to thrash this out- we need to make progress."

Cllr Giles likened problems to the town's much-maligned bid for a cyclepath. and added: "All we are looking for is one authority to be the lead authority, but they are squabbling instead of sorting it out- a lot of effort is going in to not doing it.

The town council will arrange a meeting between all involved authorities in an attempt to kick-start the bid.

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