Council teams up with Rasen youngsters in bid for new skate park

(L-R) Alex Grant (12), Jordan Grant (15), Ash Appleyard (16), Emilio Molave (17), James Catterick (21), Joe Sellars (15), Louie Herrett (14)
(L-R) Alex Grant (12), Jordan Grant (15), Ash Appleyard (16), Emilio Molave (17), James Catterick (21), Joe Sellars (15), Louie Herrett (14)

Market Rasen councillors have formed a partnership with local youngsters in a bid to sort out the future of the town’s skate park.

The park, in Mill Road, has been partially closed and there are fears about its long-term future.

Riders – backed by the 
parents and residents – attended Market Rasen’s annual town meeting last Wednesday.

Supporters of the park said they felt they had been ‘let down’ by the town council amid claims that plans to re-develop the facility had been ‘on hold’ for the last three years.

After listening to the views, councillors agreed to form a ‘Skate Board Partnership’ with the aim of having a new facility in place within 12 to 18 months.

It was also agreed to put pressure on West Lindsey District Council and housing developers to provide funding as part of a plan to make the park a ‘top priority’ leisure project.

Work has already begun securing funding with town mayor Coun John Matthews revealing the project had been selected as part of 
the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme.

However, the meeting heard there was still a long battle ahead to raise funds for the entire project with estimates a new skate park could cost anything from £40,000 to £120,000 - with ‘reserve funds’ required for any emergencies.

Coun Stephen Bunney explained that while the town council did have cash held in reserve, it needed that funding to cover any potential problems with renovations to Market Rasen’s Festival Hall.

He said: “Because of the nature of the Festival Hall - it being built in the 1970s and having asbestos in the roof - the town council would be responsible if any major work was needed.

“This is why we must retain an extra £40 to £50k on top of our £40k reserves should anything happen to the hall - it’s always a concern for us.”

He said efforts were under way to secure grants for a new skate park and said he believed WLDC should also contribute.

Coun Bunney added: “Our main priority is the Festival Hall - it’s past its sell by date and needs replacing.

“But our second priority is leisure facilities - the skate park is the top priority in that line of things.”

Some residents were concerned ‘a lot of noise’ had been made about the skate park in the past but not all plans had been ‘followed through’.

Michelle Molave said: “We’ve been here three years ago.

“There were promises made to the kids that you (the council) would work closely with them but it fizzled out.

“I would like assurances from the council that this time you are going to follow through with what you’re saying because these kids have been really disappointed for the last three years which has been a missed opportunity.

“I feel like you’ve really let the youths of Market Rasen down.”

Coun Matthews said that three years ago ‘four or five thousand pounds’ was spent on the park, which Mrs Molave called a ‘sticking plaster’.

Coun Bunney told the meeting: “I think we could easily say - and I would like to propose this to the council - that we would be looking towards hopefully getting something open in 12 months time, with a six months slippage.”

One resident, who was not named, gave her support to the skate park by presenting a cheque to the council.

She said: “From where I live I can see youngsters enjoying the skate park, and I am delighted that you are going to do your utmost to work with these young gentleman to get a park in as soon as possible.

“If you would like to start a fund, it’s not very much, but that goes towards the skate park.”

Town resident Guy Grainger suggested forming the ‘Skateboard Partnership’.

*The first meeting between the council and young riders will be held next Wednesday (May 7).