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Watton skate park locations could be ruled out

PUBLISHED: 11:26 16 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:24 08 July 2010

TWO of the possible locations for building a controversial skate park in a mid-Norfolk market town could be ruled out because of the need for a 100m buffer zone between the ramps and nearby homes.

TWO of the possible locations for building a controversial skate park in a mid-Norfolk market town could be ruled out because of the need for a 100m buffer zone between the ramps and nearby homes.

Members of the Watton town council are set to meet with planners in the coming weeks to look at sites throughout the town which could be acceptable to build a skate park.

The council has also asked anyone who has suggestions as to where the facility could be sited to get in touch ahead of the meeting.

The issue of providing a skate park in Watton has dragged on for more than five years, with several attempts to get the facility built having been thwarted by opposition from locals.

Earlier this year young skaters were given fresh hope after details emerged of a land transfer deal which will see green space at two locations in Watton, Lovell Gardens and Stokes Avenue, transferred from Breckland Council to the town council.

The land transfer is still in the hands of solicitors and while Watton Town Council has pledged its support for building a skateboard park it has said that at this stage no sites have been ruled in or out.

But at a meeting of the council's premises committee last Tuesday, at which nearly 20 members of the public attended to give their views on the issue, committee chairman Michael Wassell said during his research he had found that large buffer zones were required between housing and play areas.

He said that the National Playing Fields Association recommend buffer zones which varied in size with the largest being 75m for wheeled activities.

Mr Wassell said that many authorities were now adopting much larger buffer zones of between 100m and 200m and planners at Breckland Council had said that the minimum they usually accepted was 100m.

Before any skate park can be built the plans for it will have to be approved by Breckland Council.

Mr Wassell said that at Lovell Gardens the maximum buffer zone would be 47m while at Stokes Avenue the maximum buffer zone was 95m.

All those who spoke at the meeting said they were not against the principle of a skate park being built, though residents from the area around Lovell Gardens said they did not feel the location was appropriate for the facility.

The committee agreed that representatives would meet with Breckland planning officers to get advice on the viability of various sites in the town. These will include Lovell Gardens, Stokes Avenue, the sports centre and Loch Neaton.

Any member of the public who would like to suggest another possible site should contact the town council by e-mail on w.t.c@btclick.com or by calling 01953 881007.

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