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AXMINSTER: Cloakham goes public on skatepark concerns

Thursday, 01 May 2014


DESPITE?growing public concerns, evey effort is being made to minimise anti-social behaviour at the proposed £160,000 skatepark project at Cloakham Lawn Sports Centre in Axminster. Plans have been drawn up to replace the current skatepark at Cloakham with a brand new, state-of-the-art facility revealed in February when the Mayor, Councillor Jeremy Walden, said the project was a sign that “Axminster is going places”. But concerns have been raised since in letters to this newspaper and Cloakham Lawn about the possibility of increased anti-social behaviour. Dilemma Cloakham Lawn Sports Centre chairman Ian Hall said he had been forced to raise the matter publicly because of the sheer number of people who had approached him Mr Hall stressed that he was very much in favour of the project as long as the site was looked after. He said: “I am in a bit of a dilemma. Lots of people have contacted me about the development. Over the years there has been anti-social behaviour and I’m afraid it is creeping back.” When meeting Pulman’s View at the skatepark, he pointed to litter strewn around, offensive graffiti and scorch marks after somebody apparently attempted to set a ramp on fire. There have also been claims that illegal drugs are being used at the site, with some of the graffiti actually encouraging the use of such drugs. Mr Hall said: “The sports centre committee is 100 per cent behind the extension but it needs to be looked after now. “Several concerned people have contacted me and I’m now asking you to put it in the public domain. I want a measured view.” Councillor Andrew Moulding is a leading member of Axminster Skatepark Steering Group, and also president of Cloakham Lawn Sports Centre. He said: “The concept of the new park is totally different from a design and construction point of view.” He explained that the features will be made of pre-cast concrete, which was near impossible to vandalise. He also said the facility is likely to be equipped with CCTV and that a weekly litter pick rota would be put in place. In addition, the possibility of floodlights would mean there would be no dark areas. Mr Moulding added: “We need to meet the sports centre management committee and explain measures to be taken to reduce vandalism and nefarious behaviour.” The skatepark steering group is in the process of achieving charitable incorporated organisation status, which will make it easier to apply for larger grants. The new skatepark would be in memory of Tom Chubb, who died in a car crash on the A358 at Musbury in 2012 at the age of 18. Tom spent a lot of time at the skatepark, and the steering group is made up of youngsters and adults alike, including Tom’s mum Eve and his brother Ed


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