I have for some time been concerned by the almost cavalier indifference in which our Liberal Democrat-controlled borough council has viewed the concerns of Upperton residents for the Manor Gardens and Gildredge Park.
I would now like to alert fellow residents to the council’s new madcap proposal to inflict a skate park development on us. And their favoured position, would you believe it, seems to include part of the tennis courts and the memorial rose gardens in Manor Gardens.
Two other areas within Manor Gardens were also being actively considered under the proposal of a youth facility site. You will notice the words ‘skate park’, I suspect deliberately, are not used in this proposal.
It seems our council was given certain money for the benefit of youngsters of this town several years ago by the Lottery fund and that, at this late hour, they remembered this money must be used by October.
I understand the Old Town Liberal Democrats during the council elections undertook to build a skate park in Old Town and, to this end, sites at Priory Heights and Longland Road Rec were investigated, but residents were not happy at the proposal and I am not surprised.
So, I have to ask, knowing the feelings of Longland Road residents, why the council now wishes to inflict this upon us in Upperton and also why have we not been asked for our feelings as to the suitability of such a development in our midst and in an area we cherish?
I foolishly believed it was the wish of our council to ‘design out crime’ but the area it proposes is within a park not secure at night, has a history of late night youthful bad behaviour and is surrounded by mature vegetation.
I suspect the inevitable noise and drug use of its users would add little to the tranquillity of our park or to the residents of the surrounding property.
If anybody doubts my word in this respect, ask how often the police have been called to the Sovereign Skate Park and its related drug and violence problems.
What is even more disturbing is to learn that Upperton’s elected Conservative councillors are being deliberately kept in the dark and answers to their valid concerns to this youth facility site are not forthcoming.
This would appear to be a proposal to inflict on us with yet another area of anti-social behaviour and in a place many of us value as an area of calm relaxation and considerable beauty and high value property.
This foolish proposal is now at the point of planning. We must, if we are to preserve our park, value our property and our lifestyle, act now.
We should require our Liberal Democrat-led council to recognise we in Upperton ward elected Conservative councillors to represent us and we should demand our concerns be heard and our elected representatives’ requests for information be answered.
I am reminded of Hamlet’s comment, “There appears something rotten in the State of Denmark.”
Michael Loxley-Harding Brightland Road, Old Town