Bright future for skatepark

PUBLISHED: 05:49 08 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:10 31 May 2010

SKATEBOARDERS will be kept safer thanks to news that 14 floodlights will be installed at Saffron Walden s skatepark. Uttlesford District Council s Development Control Committee unanimously accepted the plans for the eight by eight metre tall lights, which

SKATEBOARDERS will be kept safer thanks to news that 14 floodlights will be installed at Saffron Walden's skatepark.

Uttlesford District Council's Development Control Committee unanimously accepted the plans for the eight by eight metre tall lights, which will be activity and light activated, to be built at Saffron Walden Skateboard Park on Thaxted Road.

Paul Ogborn, vice chairman of the Saffron Walden Skateboard Group, told the committee last Wednesday the lights were paramount for maintaining the safety of skaters.

"Safety is a major issue and the lights will keep users of the park safe and be of benefit if the emergency services were ever called to the park," he said.

"We know there is some opposition to the plans but we are keen to be good neighbours.

"This is an amazing community project and it would be a shame to restrict it due to a lack of lighting."

Essex Police's crime reduction advisor for Uttlesford, Peter Caulfield, has been working with the group and voiced his support for the plans.

"If the park is not lit then we could be encouraging anti-social behaviour and this may deter genuine skaters from using the park," he said.

The council received 39 identical letters of objection from residents nearby of Tukes Way who complained the floodlights would disrupt them all year round.

Cllr Richard Harris said he felt a continuously lit area would be more appropriate. "The lights going on and off could be obtrusive and make residents more aware of them," he said.

"Dunmow's tennis courts are always lit and it makes the area around the courts seem darker."

Cllr Janice Loughlin added: "I'm not against the skatepark as I think it's a great idea but we should do something to appease people who have concerns."

Mr Ogborn told the committee the light sensors would be adjustable and the proposals were accepted on the condition that mature trees are planted to give added protection to residents from the glow of the lights.

The park, which was granted planning permission in August 2004, will be open between 8am and 10pm seven days a week.

- WHAT do you think? E-mail us with your views at saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk or write to us at Saffron Walden Reporter, 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EE.

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