District and town council shake on deal to safeguard future of town centre youth facility.

SOUTH Molton skatepark has been spared demolition following an agreement between the town and district councils.

North Devon Council’s Executive committee has approved the transfer of £20,000 Section 106 funding as part of a deal with South Molton Town Council to safeguard the long-term future of the ill-fated youth facility.

The money – ring fenced public open space contributions from the Nadder Lane and Liverot Walk developments – will be used by the town council to complete the refurbishment of play equipment at Central Park.

In return, the council will maintain the skatepark following the “imminent” winding up of The Community Company.

Mayor of South Molton, Councillor David Goodman, said: “The skate park was built in 2005 on land owned by the town council, with assistance from North Devon Council.

“It is well used by young people in the town and it was hoped at the time that it would be looked after by The Community Company, but this hasn’t happened.

“Rather than see it closed, the town council has agreed to take over running the skate park.”

The skatepark has been beset by funding, maintenance and management problems since its opening in 2006 and calls had even been made to demolish the facility.

North Devon Council’s Executive member for Culture, Cllr Derrick Spear said: “I’m glad that we have found a solution that both the town and district council are happy with.

“Unfortunately, we simply do not have the capacity to take on the maintenance of any more assets, but we do have the means to help in other ways.

“The town council has agreed to take control of the skatepark’s future and we have been able to help them move forward with their plans to improve the Central Park.”

Local ward member Cllr David Worden said the end to the uncertainty about the future of this facility had been long overdue.

He said: “It is well used by many skateboarders who will appreciate what both North Devon Council and South Molton Town Council have agreed to do.

“The £20,000 will also enable the town to finish the refurbishment of the central play park and provide more facilities for the very young.”