Concerned residents in the West End have unanimously voted to request the withdrawal of the Lincoln skate park plans.
As previously reported, there are plans in place to build a fully functional skate park on Hobblers Hole off Long Leys Road, subject to planning approval.
The plans were originally set to be built on land next to the Grandstand off Carholme Road, but the council’s Commons Act meant the land could not be built on.
This led to the proposals being moved to Hobblers Hole, next to Whitton’s Park, but local residents are unhappy with the new choice.
At a meeting on February 3, just over 20 people voted for a motion that to to request the City Council Executive to withdraw plans.
Meanwhile, any residents in opposition to the plans should write to the Director of Planning at the City Council.
Some members are making other residents within the West of the city aware of the proposals by leafleting.
List of concerns
City Councillors for Carholme ward, Neil Murray and Karen Lee, will present the case against the proposals when it goes to the Planning Committee next month.
Among their arguments, they believe Hobblers Hole is unsuitable for a skate park due to lack of parking and public transport, no lighting, toilets or personal safety measures, opposition from nearby residents, and being a Critical Natural Asset.
Additionally, they argue the land was gifted to the people of Lincoln by George Whitton with the instructions not to be developed, so the council has a moral obligation not to develop the land.
The land would also tie in to the council’s own Local Plan, which states the council want to preserve green land sites such as Hobblers Hole.
Residents also brought up a number of extra concerns for the council and developers to address before the planning meeting.
Hobblers Hole is situated within the Witham Valley Wildlife Corridor, and there is a seasonal pond within the site, known to house a rare crested newt. This could halt any work being undertaken on the site.
Meanwhile, residents were also concerned about the run-off of water in the area, due to its position on the hill, the SUDS system that will be implemented, and settlement issues on the clay-based hill, due to the area being known to be unstable.
One resident claimed that the newt survey was undertaken at the wrong time of year, meaning the number of newts and other wildlife found in the are could be higher than currently thought.
Residents argued over the cost to the taxpayer of undertaking site visits and developing the skate park, and were also concerned that money from developed land elsewhere was being used on the site for the wrong reasons.
For instance, the developers for the Oasis housing estate off Carholme Road put aside £150,000 to be used for play park facilities in the local area.
A number of locals feels that this money is being used on a skate park which is not a playground facility and also not local enough to the West End.
They feel this money should be used on developing the football pitches in the West Common as well as building play facilities for children.
Finally, residents were worried about injuries to skaters crossing Long Leys Road and Yarborough Road getting to the park, or to families playing in the park next door.
County Councillor for Lincoln West, Robert Parker, also added the County Council would have concern over highways, due to lack of adequate paths on the site, parking and the safety of those travelling to use it.
Right idea, wrong place
The group was keen to stress that is supports the council’s plans for a state-of-the-art skate park in Lincoln, but not at Hobblers Hole.
It believes there are a number of other sites that could be explored, such as land off Yarborough Leisure Centre and St George’s Park in Glebe Ward.
The council has argued that it needs a site more central to the city to use for a skate park.
There are presently two small skate parks around the city: the Backies and in Bracebridge Heath.
Residents and their children are happy to travel to these sites and other cities to use skating facilities, so it is believed they would be willing to travel to Ermine or Glebe to use facilities there.
If no success in having the application withdrawn, a decision on the skate park will be made at the Planning Committee on March 5.
‘Most viable option’
Simon Colburn, Assistant Director for Health and Environmental Services, said: “We have been actively trying to identify a viable skate park site since 2011 and have worked with a user group and considered various options, including King George’s Field and the Yarborough Leisure Centre.
“We consider that Hobblers Hole is the most viable and beneficial location and this proposal has been warmly received by the user group and residents alike.
“This is a facility that residents from across the city have been asking for for a long time; it is not targeted at students, although students may of course be interested in using the facility – it is to fill a much needed gap.
“The overall scheme has been carefully thought out to enhance both the ecology and amenity value of the site for all residents.
“We are now going through the planning process. This will determine whether the proposal is acceptable in the context of the local plan and the planning system.
“In order for people to have an informed view, we encourage them to visit Hobblers Hole itself and review the proposals on our website.”