Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skaters slam park's vandals and drinkers - Kenilworth

Skaters slam park's vandals and drinkers - Kenilworth Today - Back to Home Page

11 January 2008

ANGRY Kenilworth skaters spoke out this week at the misuse of the town's skate park by drinkers, drug users and vandals.
The £40,000 facility, near the Castle Farm recreation centre in Fishponds Road, opened in 2004 after a long campaign by skating enthusiasts and supporters.

But this week, a skater emailed the Kenilworth Weekly News to say the behaviour of a few is making the facility dangerous for everyone and said the police and Warwick District Council are not doing enough to combat the problem.

He said: “I am extremely concerned about the skate park and the state of the vandalised half-pipe, which the council are supposed to be looking after.

“We have a major problem with the amount of alcohol consumed and glass broken and have had to resort to bringing our own brooms in the morning to clear up the glass as it is impossible to skate over the broken shards.

“We want to get away from the people who smoke, drink and vandalise the park.

“After a recent visit to Stratford skate park, we can see a massive difference in the quality and appearance of our park.

“Recently, we called the police because of some individuals who were drunk, smoking marijuana and vandalising and the police took three hours to come to check.

“By this time, we had cleared up and even then only one police officer came.

“We don’t know what to do and feel we have no options left.”

He also expressed concern that all visitors to the park are branded “thugs” by nearby residents who complain of noise and anti-social behaviour.

He said he and his friends have been forced to try and skate elsewhere, even resorting to using ‘no-skate’ zones’, which they realise is not allowed.

Town councillo
r, Pauline Edwards (Con, St John’s), said she was unaware of the problem and would raise the matter at Tuesday’s council meeting.

She said: “If this is the case, it would be a great pity because it is such a useful venue for all ages to enjoy.”

A spokesman for Warwick District Council, the authority responsible for the upkeep of the skate park, responded to the claims.

He said: “One of our park managers went out there yesterday (Monday) and couldn’t see any graffiti or evidence of damage or vandalism.

“We haven’t received any complaints about the skate park and would encourage people to let us know if there are any problems.

“The site is regularly cleaned by our contractor and there is flexibility to allow for extra cleaning if necessary.

“We are really keen to maintain the facility as somewhere for young people to go.”

Nobody was available to comment for the police.

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