Proposed new skatepark in Blyth has residents fearing rise in antisocial behaviour

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Residents living near the proposed site for a new skatepark in Blyth have called on the town council to reconsider the project.

Blyth Town Council first proposed building a new skatepark at the site, next to the Isabella Centre, last year, but some people living in the vicinity are concerned the project will result in an increase in antisocial behaviour.

Representatives from the town council have met with some of the displeased residents since their concerns were raised, but after reconsidering the project it was once again voted into action by a majority of councillors in February.

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A motion at the same meeting to carry out another consultation and to base a decision on the project on its result was not passed.

The town council is proposing a new skatepark near the Isabella Centre. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)The town council is proposing a new skatepark near the Isabella Centre. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The town council is proposing a new skatepark near the Isabella Centre. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Town councillor Brian Erskine said he is supporting the residents who have complained, and called for the skatepark to be located elsewhere.

He said: “I fully understand what they are saying and I totally support the local residents who are raising these issues, like I do with any residents that have issues.”

He added: “There is a group of about 30 who have come forward and spoken to me about it.

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“It is only right that I support them and give them as much advice as possible on how to go about putting objections against it in.”

The town council plans to work with skateboarding organisation Shred The North on the proposals in the hope that an activities programme organised at the skatepark from its opening will prevent the potential antisocial behaviour that has residents concerned.

Cllr Warren Taylor, who supports the plans, said: “Looking at the statistics that the police had, and this is all down to whether people report it or not, there are very few incidents around that site, but we understood the perception of antisocial behaviour come the arrival of a skatepark was very real.”

He added: “We, as a council, felt that the benefits to the young people of the town outweigh the potential for issues that may arise from it.”

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Any planning concerns relating to the skatepark could be raised by residents when a planning application is submitted to Northumberland County Council.

Cllr Taylor also defended the town council’s consultation with residents.

He said: “We really do understand everybody's concerns and we did go through the consultation exercise.

“There were a lot of positive comments that came back on that consultation as well.

“It is a balancing act for all of us at the council.”

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The area, off of Ogle Drive, is already home to a multi-use games area, a playground, and, across the road, a football pitch.

Cllr Taylor said: “There is a good mix of recreational provision there currently. We felt that this was a good addition to it.

“There is also a redundant part of a skatepark on the site, next to the football pitch. It is basically just one ramp, which has fallen into disrepair over the years but is still quite heavily used by youngsters.

“We thought that Blyth certainly needed something a bit better than this one redundant ramp.”

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