Push for new Oswestry skate park

A campaign started by a school pupil could see a new indoor or covered skate park built in Oswestry.

The town’s council has agreed to look into the possibility after more than 120 people signed an online petition calling for a better facility than the current skate park in Meadow Rise.

At a meeting on Wednesday evening, members unanimously supported a motion brought by Councillor Mike Isherwood to ask council officers to compile a report on the feasibility and potential cost.

Councillor Isherwood said: “First of all I want to commend the young man who started the petition calling for a new skate and scooter park in town. He’s brought an idea forward in a very mature and well thought-out way.

“It isn’t news that young people want things to do, and of course we all benefit when young people are happy and occupied in constructive ways.

“Because young people aren’t represented in our democratic system they can’t vote, so when they do tell us what they want or what they need I think we have a duty to listen and to take that seriously.

“Skateboards and scooters have become increasingly popular over the last few years and I think currently the provision is inadequate and outdated.

“They need facilities away from traffic and pedestrians for everybody’s safety and it’s a legitimate request really.

“We already provide tennis, crazy golf, multi-use games areas, playgrounds, park and open spaces so I don’t see any reason why this isn’t something we could look into.

Suggested

“I propose that we investigate the feasibility of providing preferably an all-weather skateboarding facility, after all the Covid crisis has shown how important for mental and physical wellbeing exercise and positive activities can be.”

Councillor Sandy Best said the issue had been discussed by the Future Oswestry Group (FOG), made up of the town council, Shropshire Council and Oswestry Business Improvement District (BID).

She said a piece of land near the leisure centre had been suggested as a potential site.

Councillor Jay Moore said: “I am fully in support of this idea. Skating has been something that has been consistently asked for within youth work for an awfully long time.”

He said the town council should look at a more central site, with both the current skate park and piece of land near the leisure centre on the outskirts of the town.

Councillor Moore added: “This is something that probably should have been done decades ago.

“The young people have been waiting an awfully long time and there always seems to be some reason to delay, something always seems to come up.

Improving

“I think it’s time to finally pull the trigger and give these young people their skate park. They’ve been asking for it for long enough.”

Other councillors said money could instead be spent on refurbishing and extending the Meadow Rise skate park, as well as adding CCTV to address the problems of anti-social behaviour and drug misuse.

Councillor Isherwood said: “One of the things we can look at is improving the existing facilities. We can look at possibly other sites in other parts of town and it might be that improving the existing facilities is the way to go.”

Council officers will now prepare a report to bring back to a future meeting.

The online petition, which is still available to sign on change.org, says: “I think that an indoor skate park should be created because there are a lot of kids that go to the Meadow Rise skate park in Oswestry and they are always thinking of how there could be a new and improved skatepark for people from Oswestry and surrounding areas to come and visit.

“This petition is to show the town and Shropshire Council how many people really would enjoy an indoor skate park in Oswestry so they have a brilliant reason to provide us with an amazing new indoor skate park.

“This skate park will prevent kids from going out and causing anti-social behaviour

“A lot of scooter riders, bike riders, skateboard riders will appreciate it a lot if there was a new skate park made.”

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