22nd August 2018
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Knab skate park plans delayed again

The brakes have been put on long-running proposals to create Lerwick’s new £214,000 skate park until fuller plans have been scrutinised by councillors.

Shetland Skate Park Association had asked permission for the concrete slab structure to be built at Knab Road in Lerwick.

However today’s planning committee voted five-two in favour of holding off a decision until further details are submitted.

The meeting heard the association had been unable to provide a noise impact assessment, and the environmental health department had been unable to confirm the skate park would not give rise to a “statutory nuisance”.

But planning officer John Holden said officials were confident that any problems could be ironed out during the design stage.

That was enough for SIC political leader Gary Robinson. He moved the application be approved to allow the long-running project to finally get off the ground. He gained support from David Sandison.

However Peter Campbell was less than convinced. He argued the decision should be deferred until full plans are presented to the committee.

“If somebody had come wanting to build a house on that site we would have had to see full and detailed plans. I would move that we defer this until such time as we know the precise design of the project.”

He also questioned the wisdom behind offering the skate park at the Knab at a time when the public toilets adjacent to the site were facing possible closure.

“We need to see the full plans, because there is the possibility of things progressing with a large concrete slab at the Knab, and nothing else.”

Mr Campbell was seconded by Billy Fox, who said he was “fairly agnostic” about the application, as it was a “legacy issue of the last council” – previous plans for a skate park have been scuppered for various reasons over the years. Those included difficulties in acquiring land, and complaints from neighbours about the prospect of noise and disturbance.

Mr Robinson said the question of public toilets was not a “planning consideration”. He said further questions raised would be dealt with by planning officers.

“We can all envisage what a skate park is going to look like. It will be designed and constructed to meet all the current standards. Provided environmental health is satisfied and health and safety considerations are taken into account I think we should let this one go.”

Mr Sandison insisted the report seemed “straightforward to me” – that the skate park could be built “subject to the imposition of satisfactory conditions”.

“I can’t see how they’d do anything different from that. If Gary wanted to support the motion, I’d second him.”

However, when it came to the vote, the show of hands was in Mr Campbell’s favour.

Planning chairman Frank Robinson told fellow members: “This will be presented with further details at a future meeting.”

The set-back represents the latest hold-up for the skate park, which has been waiting in the wings for the last 12 years.

In that time proposals have developed to build the development at the Clickimin or the Gilbertson Park.

Today’s plans are to build the development, which will incorporate a BMX track, next to the coastguard station, away from most houses.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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16 comments

  1. Martyn Fisher

    Well i am a bit fed up with all this. Ok folks we need to take a look at cost… However enough is enough on the young folks. Something even in a reduced size needs to be built.. I mean it, got to go down…. “It is not a crime to be a skateboarder”
    Not sure if it is the right place, wish i was fit enough to do it myself…. Come on council guys you have cut a lot, but have a day of from that… Give this a go…
    I stayed in the boys hostel, well we cut our teeth climbing the face of the knab. I got cramp on a very tough bit. I nearly get hurt badly…It is important to climb the banks but no need to lose your life doing it… So let the bairns do something that is a bit watched out for.. Lets make it safe for them… So come Council guys get your skateboards on…..

    Reply
  2. David Spence

    Well Martyn, I would like to know the statistics on people being injured or hurt using skateboards, whether in a design park or elsewhere. Given some of the tricks and stunts that may be required within this ‘ sport ‘ (said very loosely, along with snow boarding and surfing the waves for a few seconds (if you are lucky – all these activities requiring very little mental agility (probably explains why their origins are from the US lol))) I would like to know whether such a sport is warranted in proportion to the expense of treating people which become injured as a consequence???

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  3. Robert Wishart

    Good, the longer this is delayed the better. There should be no further encroachment on this lovely public space.

    Reply
  4. Mike Smith

    I don’t necessarily like the idea of the skate park adjacent to the Coastguard station however it needs to go somewhere, and it seems most of the other land around the town is being dveloped for housing or industry, so come on SIC, get your fingers out and get it done.
    David, if all the risk were considered then nobody would do anything, we’d all be sat in our own padded rooms encased in bomb proof concrete! Life is full of risk 🙂

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  5. Sandy McDonald

    David, I think you’ll find that to excel at skateboarding require more mental agility than you think. Healthy body, healthy mind and all that. However, can’t see how building a 214000 pound skatepark can be justified when schools are being closed.

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  6. John Robertson

    I find it laughable to bring up the cost of dealing with injuries from skateboarding when on a weekly basis we read about another of Shetlands young folk appearing from the cells for getting blootered then blootering another blootered young person. The cost of that is far in advance of £214k not just to the police service but to the nhs, the courts and to business. If this skate park encourages more folk to carry out physical activity which they enjoy and it keeps them out of the pub or hassling folk on street corners then crack on and get it built.

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  7. Martyn Fisher

    Well i am not a big fan of the Health and Safety brigade. People tell me you can drown in saucerfull of water..However you can without going over the top reduce the risk…
    Hanging of the point of the knab with no rope is not the way to go.
    Yes sure i am not happy with all the school closures. However cuts have had to be made. Very proud of this new Council who are getting a lot of stick for making these cuts.
    However a we project to put some moral back into the place, well i dont think it is a bad thing.. My options for a good night out at school was Sunday night coffee at the Planets….That was it….
    I am not even sure how stable the knab is. Some major caves under it one big enough to hold a submarine, Any reason why it cant be at the Gilbertson Park ?/.

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  8. David Spence

    Well John, I wouldn’t laugh too much considering there is a greater risk of people being injured and hurt given the design of the device (skateboard) and that ‘ concrete ‘ shaped in the form curves, slopes, pitched and balance testing grounding being what people have to use to get the most from such a device. This also imposes a greater risk of being injured than many other sports (if indeed one could regard this as a sport) where, in most cases, injury is much less.

    Yes, to compare it with alcohol, there isn’t really any comparison. I do agree with you in regards the alternative (alcohol) that people (of any age) taking part in skateboarding is the better option and, as you have said, better for ones health (hoping you don’t get injured whilst taking part).

    In this time of the council closing schools (but keeping the leisure centre’s open which are, in most cases, empty for a large percentage of the time and probably cost more to run than the schools which have been closed – I think the Council have their priorities wrong in putting leisure ahead of education) and other services being cut or stopped, I would suspect that many people would object to the construction of a skateboard park in Lerwick? I agree with you Martyn, Gilbertson Park could be a better venue as it is quite central.

    Reply
  9. Jim Leask

    David – I think your comment is a bit unfair on Skateboarders, BMX’ers etc. These sports require a huge amount of skill and mental agility. As for the concerns about cost of development against cost to nhs services…..how much do more recognised sports in Shetland such as football or rugby cost the nhs/employers each year with regards to injuries? Any sport that encourages young people to get outside, get active and have fun should be encouraged, especially one that will help target people that may not be involved in the ‘standard’ Shetland sports. The question then becomes, is it viable to do so in the current climate of cuts and closures?

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  10. ian tinkler

    £214,000 on a skate park!! Absolutely no comment, apart from, lets close all the schools; then we could afford to spend £14 million on it and make it a game changer, just like Mareel.

    Reply
  11. Michael Inkster

    I wonder how popular skateboarding is compared for example to the need to use public toilets in the vicinity after a walk around the Knab? M Inkster

    Reply
  12. Sandy McMillan

    Where is the £214.000, coming from, is it possable that Mareel is paying back, what they should never have been giving in the first instance, has the key been found to open the safe at the Shetland Chatitabe Trust, could it be Viking Energy are returning what they are not going to need,

    Reply
  13. David Spence

    I take heed of what you have said Jim, but I could almost bet that the percentage of people being injured in doing skateboarding to this of rugby or football would be much higher. Given their is a skill of balance required along with the concrete surface one shall hit if one loses their balance or tries to do a trick beyond their capability, would, I suspect, could cause serious injury……even if wearing pads and a helmet was compulsory……which I would hope would be the case.

    I take not that the Council require more information before they can grant planning permission. However, even if this information is forwarded, as you have said Jim, in a time where cuts and tightening of belts is required, one could question the viability of such a project given the costs?

    Reply
  14. The skate park association received £50,000 of a grant of up to £100,000 back in 2006. Since then they’ve been successful with their own fund-raising efforts and in securing further grants from out-with Shetland. As a consequence, the association has confirmed that they do not require any further funding from the council beyond that which they received in 2006.

    Reply
  15. Johan Adamson

    With respect Gary, that is what they all say

    Reply
  16. David McDowall

    I don’t think that is quite true Mr Robinson as I believe that SIC has agreed to meet future insurance and maintenance costs while leasing for a nominal cost for 25 years.
    http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2011/06/08/councillors-approve-100000-for-skatepark-project
    I wonder how much that is going to cost?
    It would also appear to be contrary to the advice of the SIC Financial Officer that “The overwhelming reason that the council is in its current financial difficulty is because of overspending on day-to-day services which is a drain on the reserves year after year”.
    http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2013/05/06/gray-squandering-of-oil-money-since-2000-caused-sic-spending-crisis
    Surely this is such a year on year cost which the council are signing up to for 25 years.

    I would like to suggest to you that it could be considered bad form to be signing up to 5 years worth of leisure facilities for a select few while cuts are being applied to the educational provision in rural areas.

    Reply

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