Skate park cash bid

DRIFFIELD town council is to be asked to bankroll the Skate and BMX Park to the tune of £36,000.

Trustees from the seven year old park asked the authority for help because they felt they could no longer continue with their demanding workload.

A working party was established by the council and a report revealed to the authority on Tuesday suggests awarding the park a grant of £12,000 annually for three years.

The report was compiled by councillors Mark Blakeston, Kevin Stack, Matthew Garrard and Phil Stocker.

Staff and users of the skate park attended the council chamber and although several councillors were keen to discuss the report it was decided that a special meeting should be held next Tuesday, November 13.

The report revealed that the town council working party felt strongly that the facility was a real asset to the town and they proposed a three phase action plan.

The first phase – labelled immediate - would be a grant of £12,000 for three years, which would cover wages and costs to employ a manager for 15 hours a week, releasing the trustees from their “phenomenal daily and weekly workload, allowing them to concentrate on fundraising and grant applications.”

Phase two – intermediate – would involve assistance from the council in cost saving or in providing more cost effective services.

Phase three – long term – suggests that there is huge potential to extend youth provision at the skate park.

The report says: “There is plenty of room for an additional structure that could provide the town with much needed youth facilities.

It also suggests the town council could one day perhaps “absorb” the skate park.

“While the Driffield Skate and BMX Park value their independence the trustees acknowledge that in the longer term it may be that another organisation such as ourselves may for the greater good of the park absorb the facility.

“This is not a long term proposal at this stage but merely a future possibility.”

The report concludes: “To agree phase one is hardly speculative. The park is established and successful and perhaps may be even more successful with a manager.”

“The working group are not asking the council to agree to all three stages, but that phase one be considered and resolved either way as soon as possible in order to relieve the considerable workload of the three volunteers and secure the mid-term future of the park.

“Phase two and three can be tentatively investigated over time and brought separately to council in future months and years.”

The Skate park was built and opened in February 2005. The land was bought for £45,000 from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and has since been valued at £90,000.

From Easter to summer, 2,500 people use the facilities, averaging 250 a week. The park is weather dependent as fund raising for a roof fell short by £35,000.

Since 2002, when the idea of a skate park was first mooted, three women have spearheaded the whole project – Wendy Barker, Pat Harrison and Pam Irvine. Since then they have managed the park themselves – each working 15 hours a week, totalling 7,800 hours since 2002.