Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bedfordshire - Fear keeps youngsters away from skate park

Sandy in Bedfordshire is latest place to be hit in the UK by the wave of violence and threats against skaters and skateparks. See our previous posts on skaters.

The Comet - Fear keeps youngsters away from skate park

15 November 2007

YOUNGSTERS have deserted a skate park saying they fear being attacked because it has become a meeting place for gangs.

The skate park at the end of Sunderland Road, Sandy, was also where a young schoolboy suffered a badly smashed nose in an attack in August.

Now many young skaters say they are too frightened to go there, especially at night, and many will only go there if they are accompanied by a parent or adult.

"I have spoken to many of the skaters who say they fear being attacked down there," said Mid Beds district councillor Ken Lynch, who led the campaign for the £80,000 skate park to be built with cash from Sandy Town Council and the Lottery.

"It is disgraceful it has come to this and the youngsters are frightened to go down there.

"One young lad has already been assaulted there and skaters fear this could happen again because two gangs go down there.

"The police need to take some urgent action. Many people are telling me about gangs roaming around the town at night and I have seen one group for myself in the Market Square. They are very threatening.

"One gang is called the SG gang, I presume after the town's post code."

Cllr Lynch says the only way to make the skate park safe is to erect floodlights which will make it easier to police and deter gangs from meeting there.

Sandy beat officer Pc Lee Prutton said he will investigate claims of gangs at the skate park and in other areas of the town.

"When I was on duty I did see groups at The Mushroom and by Budgens in the town centre and they were well behaved and not causing any problems," said Pc Prutton.

"I will keep a watch on the skate park and speak to any groups of youngsters who are gathering there. The Comet - Fear keeps youngsters away from skate park:

Meanwhile in Crewe a new park is being built because the old one was vandalised in a familiar pattern:

Work starts on £80000 skate park
Crewe Guardian, UK - 12 Nov 2007

SKATEBOARDING teenagers could be trying out their skills on a new skate area in Alsager by Christmas.

Work has begun on creating a skate park in Milton Park to replace one which was vandalised and used as a late-night drinking den.

The £80,000 skate park is being built on the same site, which has been opened up to deter anti-social behaviour.

The area is part of planned improvements at the park, which include a new children's play area and a CCTV camera.

The skate area should be much more popular than the previous one because local skaters were involved in its design. The new equipment will be made from concrete, which is less noisy than the metal ramp in the previous skate park.

"The number of local skaters has dwindled because of the lack of a skate park in the town," said Alistair Cook from Groundwork Cheshire, which is overseeing the project.

"However those numbers will grow with the opening of the new facility.

"The need for facilities for young people in Alsager was mentioned by an overwhelming percentage of local people last year. A new skate facility in Milton Park featured highly in the wishes expressed by young people when they were consulted in October."

The new skate park will include seats, litter bins and cycle racks, and will boast a mixture of street features and curved ramps.

Work should be completed by the end of December, and a celebration event is planned for early next year.

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