Skatepark - or just employ child-catcher?

PUBLISHED: 07:29 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 21:19 29 May 2010

I was very troubled to read negative comments about the Town Council s plans to revamp the skate park in last week s letters page. The users of the skate park are not aliens from another planet, they are the offspring of our council-tax-paying neighbours.

I was very troubled to read negative comments about the Town Council's plans to revamp the skate park in last week's letters page. The users of the skate park are not aliens from another planet, they are the offspring of our council-tax-paying neighbours.

We councillors rather naively thought that those taxpayers would want us to spend their money on improving the facilities for young people in the town.

More importantly on trying to encourage them into a positive and active leisure pursuit rather than hanging around the bus stop or watching TV and playing computer games at home.

I guess we could have taken a different approach and spent the money employing a "Child Catcher" to keep the streets clear. But firstly that kind of approach does not play well with the Focus Groups these days. Secondly, unlike skate parks, it is impossible to attract outside grant funding for these more traditional remedies - same with hanging and flogging.

While they are not little angels, I have never found anyone to have trouble with the genuine skaters, bladers and BMXers who use the skate park. Use of the park has declined in recent years largely because the park is now rather tatty and dated. We believe a re-design and rebuild with a scheme which has been designed by skaters will revitalise the community that use to thrive around the skate park.

As a resident of the High Street I can assure you that trouble-making hooligans come in all shapes, sizes and ages. In fact the main determining factor seems to be access to alcohol rather than the existence of a skate park.

The denizens who happen to congregate on the skate park at night would not simply go home or take up macramé if we demolished it.

As one of the less young members of the community I can only imagine what it must be like for our teenagers to constantly be blamed for everything that happens in the town. There are many hundreds of teenagers in the town and only about half a dozen cause most of the trouble. The new skate park will be great. The Town Council has managed to secure the majority of the funding from other sources and so it represents tremendous value for money for our town.

Cllr John Murphy,

Member for Great Dunmow (North), Uttlesford District Council, and Great Dunmow Town Council

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