Youngsters’ fury as Flintshire skatepark is axed

Reporter:

Lois Hough

HEARTBROKEN children say they are being forced to play on the streets after a ten-year battle for a skatepark was lost.

Young skateboarders and BMX riders in Mold are devastated that long-standing proposals for the facility on Maes Bodlonfa playing fields were thrown out by

Flintshire Council planners because of fears about anti-social behaviour.

It is the fourth time the application has been rejected since youngsters first approached the town council requesting the skatepark in 2000.

BMX fan Max Middleton, 12, told the Leader: “It’s really annoying because we wanted to learn new tricks and meet new people, but now we’re going to have to keep playing in the street. It was a good idea and I was really looking forward to it.”

Friend Ieuan Burton, 12, added: “We hang out everywhere but it’s quite boring and we keep getting moved on. We wanted the skatepark to make friends.

“I’m really sad we can’t have it.”

Steve Robinson, a community youth worker in Mold, said he felt let down by the decision.

He said: “I have been to that park many times in the evening and I have never witnessed anti-social behaviour.

“These kids of 12 and 13 don’t even know what anti-social behaviour is.

“People want the skatepark but ‘Not In My Back Yard.’ The youngsters were really excited about this and they have been let down.”

The application received nine letters of objection from residents who were concerned about flooding and the use of bright floodlights late at night.

Fed-up resident Ruth Holywell told the planning meeting: “It is a thriving drug using and dealing centre. Sometimes they do it at night, but often it is in broad daylight.

“There are groups of youths urinating on trees, including young girls. I have also had to clean human excrement from outside my garden.

“People feel intimidated by the youths that hang around there. It is no place for a skate park.”

Ward member Haydn Bateman also fought against the application.

He added: “The skate park has been moved more times around that park than a knight on a chess board. At this time of financial strife, can we really justify spending £150,000 on a skate park?”

The application was refused with a majority vote.

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