Skate park forced to close

Joseph Bulmer

South Molton skaters left without park during the half-term holiday

SOUTH Molton skate park has been forced to close, less than five years after it opened.

Since opening in 2006, the facility in the town’s Central Park, has been beset by funding problems and will remain out of bounds to youngsters during the February half-term break pending urgent repairs and a long-term management plan to ensure its future.

A move to set up a charitable trust to oversee the skate park has stalled and a recent maintenance inspection identified “safety issues” that forced its closure.

The Community Company, which formed a voluntary management committee with parents, said it had taken the reluctant decision to close the park immediately.

Chairman, Tryphena Huntingford, said: “We are working to get the repairs done as soon as possible so that the park can be opened again quickly.

“Whilst we are in contact with the contractors, we hope to also get costs for upgrading work which needs to be identified in conjunction with users.

“We would welcome input from users, their parents and any interested members of the community to ensure that the town retains an excellent, and ideally upgraded, park.

“However, the difficult issues remain cost and long-term management. If you would like to be involved with this community facility, either as a user or supporter, please come along to either of two meetings where the topic will be on the agenda.”

The first meeting of South Molton Youth Council takes place Monday at 6.30pm in the Amory Centre. The issue will also be discussed at a Community Company meeting on Tuesday at the George Hotel, starting at 6.30pm.

“We hope to have more information on fund-raising requirements and a timetable for reopening at Tuesday’s meeting,” added Mrs Huntingford.

Town councillor David Worden said it was particularly frustrating that the skate park had been forced to close during the February half-term break.

“The problem is that there has never been an effective management committee to run the skateboard park,” he said.

“We are hoping to set up a charitable trust to oversee the park and its running and plans are afoot to try and get trustees together and to formulate a business plan.

“However, a long-term solution to ensure its future is long overdue and needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.”