Thursday, 14 December 2017

Fund-raising begins for ‘wheeled sports facility&rsquo

A CAMPAIGN has begun to raise funds for a new skate park in Henley.

A CAMPAIGN has begun to raise funds for a new skate park in Henley.

The Henley Skate Park Initiative’s website is being redesigned to become its fund-raising hub and the group is exploring other options such as donations by text.

Collection tins will be placed in the YEUK skate shop in Friday Street, New News in Reading Road and Rad BMX in High Wycombe.

The group is also working with Henley Town Council to establish a fund-raising timetable and will apply to South Oxfordshire District Council’s community investment fund.

Colin Brathwaite, who leads the initiative, said: “With many of the grant options you need certain things in place before you can apply or you need to spend the money within a certain timescale.

“So us working out exactly what we’re going to apply for and when is vitally important.”

Meanwhile, the name of the proposed site in Makins recreation ground was called into question at a meeting of the town council’s recreation and amenities committee.

It has the working title of Makins Wheeled Sports Facility but Councillor David Clenshaw felt this didn’t make sense.

He said: “It seems to me it’s a skate park, not a wheeled sports facility. This is the worst example of non-English creeping into our language.”

Councillor Martin Akehurst believed it could be interpreted as a facility for wheelchair users.

Councillor Sam Evans said the name was “misleading and doing the group no favours whatsoever”. Deputy Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, who is on the working group, said the name represented the variety of wheeled machines that were welcome at the facility, including BMX bikes and scooters.

He agreed to discuss alternative names with the group.

There was also a debate about the timescale in which the skate park would be built after Cllr Evans asked if it would be part of the town’s neighbourhood plan.

Councillor Jeni Wood said it would be part of the plan, adding: “I think it will fit in. I can’t see this happening in the next three or four years and I hope the plan will have been accepted by then.

“It will have to be taken into consideration and I’m sure no one would want to see a skate park built and then moved.”

Cllr Gawrysiak denied the skate park would take that long and claimed it could be ready within the next year if everything went smoothly.

He said: “It should be progressed quickly but we’re putting the cart before the horse. We haven’t got a neighbourhood plan or a skate park plan so we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.”

Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said: “If you are just waiting on everything for the neighbourhood plan, nothing will get done. People have to carry on as normally as they can.”

Cllr Wood said the initiative should be made aware of the council’s efforts to produce a neighbourhood plan.

Cllr Akehurst said a contingency plan was needed, adding: “If we’re saying it’s going to be three or four years what are we going to do as a fallback? Are we assuming that the skate park group will go ahead?

“We’re being remiss in not looking after council facilities here.”

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