Monday, 11 December 2017

Council earmarks £75k for Henley skate park

MONEY has been set aside to refurbish the skate park at Makins recreation ground in Henley.

MONEY has been set aside to refurbish the skate park at Makins recreation ground in Henley.

At a full meeting last night, the town council allocated £75,000 in next year?s capital budget for the work.

It has committed the money in principle but will not spend it until a detailed and financially viable proposal is presented.

Colin Brathwaite, chairman of the Henley Skate Park Initiative, told the council: ?There is a massive amount of community support behind this project. ?The kids are all talking about it, the headteachers are all talking about it and there?s a real buzz around.?

He said his group wanted to hold training sessions for different sections of the community, including girls, under-eights, older people and people with disabilities.

He said: ?We really want to increase sports participation in the town. Imagine a future Olympian having trained at the Henley skate park.?

Cllr David Nimmo Smith said he supported it in principle but opposed building it at the site off Greys Road.

He said: ?I?m not yet convinced that Makins is the right site. It is a travesty that Henley does not have any public tennis courts and I don?t see why consideration cannot be given to build them at Makins.?

Cllrs Nimmo Smith and Will Hamilton said the council should not decide the site?s future while the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan was being drawn up.

Cllr Hamilton said: ?The site should go into the neighbourhood plan so that residents can decide what they would like to see there.?

Several councillors disagreed, saying the skate park group could not get grants from elsewhere if the town council did not set the money aside.

Cllr David Clenshaw said: ?We?re not voting to hand the money over at this stage - that would require extra costings. We are simply making provisions should the council decide to spend that money at a later date.?

Cllr Ian Reissmann said the current skate park was coming to the end of its useful life.

?It was put in over 10 years ago, is expensive to maintain and cannot be maintained for much longer before it becomes obsolete," he said. ?We cannot do nothing about it. We just need to put the money aside so that the group can secure funding from other sources.?

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