Progress for Ottery skate park bid

ENCOURAGING steps have been taken to provide Ottery s youngsters with a long-awaited Skate and BMX Park.

ENCOURAGING" steps have been taken to provide Ottery's youngsters with a long-awaited Skate and BMX Park.

A bid to provide the town with a "first class sporting facility" has long been on the skids due to a wrangle over a piece of land in Higher Thorne Farm Way- however, the Herald has been told "positive" steps are being made by all involved agencies to move the project forward.

Representatives from Ottery town, East Devon District and Devon County councils, The King's School and members of the town's Skate and BMX Group met earlier this month, leaving one of the driving forces behind the bid optimistic.

Elli Pang, secretary of the Ottery and District Skate and BMX Group, said she felt like "giving up" on the stagnating bid in January after authorities failed to take responsibility for it.

However, she told the Herald last week it isn't time to "close the file" just yet. She said: "Ideas have been proposed and I'm satisfied with progress so far. So many issues still need to be resolved, its just a shame youngsters have been disappointed for so long."

Devon County Council (DCC) owns the proposed site and a spokeswoman said: "The meeting was a very positive one. At the moment, we are still exploring the business plan and considering all the elements which need to be resolved such as funding, equipment, maintenance and supervision.

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"The county council are very receptive to ideas on making it (the lan) available for use as a skate park.

In January Ottery town council pledged to "adopt" the land in a bid to kick-start the bid and it is understood talks are ongoing over the possibility DCC will lease the site to it.

East Devon District Council said it has advised on access, drainage and design issues on the site, but this was done "on the strict understanding that it would not be possible for the council to adopt and maintain the park after its completion."

Town, district and county councillor Roger Giles said: "I've been anxious to see this delivered for the young people of Ottery for a long time- at last some positive progress is being made and I hope now we may see this become a reality in the not too distant future."

Headteacher at The King's School Faith Jarrett said she was "rooting" for the bid, which would benefit students, and it had the full support of the school.