August 12, 2013 10.11 am This story is over 128 months old

Wildlife Trust opposed to Lincoln skate park plans

More opposition: Concerns are mounting over Hobblers Hole as the location for a new Lincoln skate park, with opposition from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

A local wildlife trust has come forward to oppose plans for a skate park on Hobblers Hole in Lincoln.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust stated that the area needs better management for wildlife rather than a development which could drive creatures away.

The City of Lincoln Council plans to build a state-of-the-art skate park on the site off Long Leys Road for the community.

The skate park plans for Hobblers Hole. Photo: Gravity Parks

The skate park plans for Hobblers Hole. Photo: Gravity Parks

Hobblers Hole was chosen after the original plans near the Grandstand could not go ahead, and due to its proximity both from the city centre and away from neighbours.

However, a number of residents in the Carholme Ward, including Councillors Neil Murray and Karen Lee, expressed concerns over the location of the facility.

The proposed location for Hobblers Hole. Map: Google

The proposed location for Hobblers Hole. Map: Google

Now, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has also made its stance clear on the plans.

Head of Conservation at the Trust, Caroline Steel, said: “Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is aware of the proposals for development of a skate park at Hobbler’s Hole.

“In addition to its status as Critical Natural Asset, the area was selected as a Local Wildlife Site in 2007 in recognition of its wildlife value in a county context; however LWS status does not necessarily preclude development.

“There has been no management of the land at Hobbler’s Hole in recent years and it is not fulfilling its potential for wildlife.

“The Trust had let the council know that it would object to the development unless significant overall benefits for wildlife could be guaranteed through better management of the whole area: we are particularly keen to see restoration of the pond.

“We had said that when the planning application was submitted and we had all the available information we would look carefully at potential impacts on the wildlife of the area. We would oppose the development unless we could be certain that there would be significant long-term benefits for wildlife.

“As a result of public concern it now appears that an impartial, objective and measurable evaluation of all available sites will have to be conducted by the Council.

“This gives the opportunity to look at pond restoration and other improvements to Hobbler’s Hole without the threat of an imminent planning application.

“The Trust welcomes the opportunity for constructive dialogue with the Council on this basis: better management without development is the best possible option for the wildlife of Hobbler’s Hole.”

Residents local to Hobblers Hole area, who oppose the plans to locate the skate park on the green space.

Residents local to Hobblers Hole area, who oppose the plans to locate the skate park on the green space.

Declining ecology

The City Council believe that the location is ideal for the skate park, as the ecology in the area is on the decline.

However, since the discovery of a rare newt in the pond on the site, the council agreed to improve the area for wildlife too.

Antony Angus, Recreation Services Team Leader at the city council, previously said: “We have considered a number of sites across Lincoln and believe that Hobblers Hole is the most viable.

“Studies over the last 30 years clearly demonstrate that the sites ecology has been declining for many years. A recent survey has concluded that the site no longer meets criteria for a Local Wildlife Site, something it previously did.

“The project will aim to reverse this trend as well as provide a fantastic facility for people to enjoy.

“When we have further developed the proposal and can answer accurately the various questions that have been raised by consultees, we will undertake further consultation. This will allow residents to have an informed opinion about the proposal.

“It is equally important of course for supporters of the project to voice their opinions. We welcome all comments,” he added.