Progress for Ottery skate park bid

PUBLISHED: 17:30 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:13 17 June 2010

OTTERY owes its youngsters a skate and BMX park according to town officials, who have acted to push forward the project.

OTTERY owes its youngsters a skate and BMX park according to town officials, who have acted to push forward the project.

The town council pledged to 'adopt' a troublesome piece of land in Higher Thorne Farm Way at a meeting last Monday in an attempt to bring the bid off the skids and encourage district and county councils to advance its progress.

Councillors voted six to one in favour of the 'adoption', which will involve leasing the land from Devon County Council and assuming responsibility for its maintenance- this will not include ramps or equipment.

Last month The Herald reported how one of the driving forces behind the project, Elli Pang, secretary of the Ottery and District Skate and BMX Group, said she felt like giving up on the stagnating bid after authorities had failed to take responsibility for it.

Mayor Glyn Dobson shares her frustration. He said: "The more we talk the further we go round in circles. Do we want it? If we do we need to back it up.

"The situation we have is around £50,000 and full planning approval, but big problems with the site.

"The problem is taking that piece of land over. East Devon District Council are reluctant over maintenance."

Town treasurer Paul Lewis said the council had a "moral obligation to give the young people of Ottery the same as anywhere else",

He added: "We should show the kids in town we are on their side- we are doing precious little else for them. Its time for DCC and EDDC to sort it out- nobody will take responsibility for it.

"If we do, I can't believe there will be a huge cost- but it (the site) has to be low maintenance.

"Lets just get on with what parents are paying damn good council tax money for."

While councillors are unanimous in their support for the skate park, there were objections to the timing of Monday's decision.

Cllr Tony Howard voiced concerns it was taken in district councillor Ray Bloxham's absence.

Cllr Paul Carter added he was cautious about "steam rolling ahead". He said: "Support from this council is not the issue but whether the relevant departments can sort issues that need to be ironed out."

Cllr Roger Giles likened the bid's progress to a "snails pace" and said: "We have had countless meetings- I have no problems in us adopting the land. Cllr Bloxham has been doing what he can- I believe there is difficulty in bringing the relevant senior district officers on board.

"We really need to take a step forward to show we care- I'm anxious to push this ahead."

A meeting between all involved parties is being planned.


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