More than three years after it was supposed to have been installed, councillors in Kingswood are still waiting for Tory-controlled South Gloucestershire Council to install a mini skate park for the young people in the area they represent.
In 2012, a multi-use games area (MUGA) was installed at Court Road, Kingswood and has since proven to be very popular with local young people playing football and basketball inside the purpose built court.
Alongside the games area, a smaller area was also fenced off and laid with tarmac in preparation for a couple of pieces of equipment for a small-scale skate park to accompany the games area. But despite the councillors repeatedly asking about progress of the skate park and escalating the lack of any progress to the highest levels in the council, the skate park equipment has still not been installed. The latest deadline given to the councillors has come and gone leaving them wondering whether the Tory-run council has now simply abandoned the idea.
Councillors Gareth Manson, Andy Perkins and Pat Rooney (Woodstock ward) have issued the following joint statement:
“We have been waiting since 2012 for this skate park. We’ve been asking time and time again and all we’ve been met with is either lengthy periods of silence or promises of updates ‘in the next few days’, but still nothing is delivered on the ground. In March we even took to writing to the Director of the relevant department and finally got a promise at the end of May that contractors were being appointed and were expected to have installed the equipment well in advance of the school summer holidays. But that deadline has also now passed.
With all the cuts being made in the council and the latest announcement that the Tories are looking to abandon Kingswood and its Civic Centre, we’re beginning to wonder whether we will ever see this mini skate park finished. If it’s not finished, the housing developers who have paid for it may well be asking for their money back.”
The funding for the games area and skate park has come from housing developers in the form of section 106 payments which have accompanied new housing built in the area. The money is supposed to be spent by the local council on improving infrastructure and extra amenities within an area in lieu of the extra demand which new residents place on local facilities. If councils do not spend the money within a defined period of time, they are at risk of having to pay it back.
Planning for the games area, skate park and other enhancements to the playing fields began back in 2009 with a series of public exhibitions and meetings on the playing fields and in the local primary school.