Frustration at equipment delay

YOUNG people in Portishead feel their needs are being ignored following a delay in the installation of new equipment in the town.

Plans to install play equipment for older children at the town’s Lake Grounds were first considered more than three years ago but nothing has materialised.

The quest for a new skatepark began in 2006 but a site has still yet to be agreed and, earlier this year, teenagers campaigned to stop North Somerset council axing its youth service budget but to no avail.

A 13-year-old from Portishad said: “It feels as though the youth and their needs don’t count in this town, yet everyone is very quick to moan if we are roaming around or gathering in groups on street corners. It’s very frustrating.”

After surveying scores of young people, Portishead Town Council allocated �30,000 for play equipment suitable for older children to go alongside existing apparatus at the Lake Grounds. The items chosen in the survey included a hamster wheel, a large swing and a surf board rider suitable for youngsters aged 11 and over.

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Members applied to the landowner, North Somerset Council, more than a year ago for permission to put the equipment on the site but are still waiting for an answer.

Cllr Ros Cruse, chairman of the town council recreation and works committee, said: “There is a real need for play equipment for teenagers at the Lake Grounds and while we have the funds in place to purchase suitable items, we are unable to move the project forward until a decision is made on landlord’s consent.

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“It is very disappointing that no further progress has been made.”

North Somerset Council refused Portishead Skatepark Group permission to build a skate park on land at the Lake Grounds and recently advised the tourism group it would not grant permission for a bandstand to be sited at the beauty spot because it might attract antisocial behaviour from youngsters.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “An internal meeting will take place next week to discuss landlord’s consent for the proposed additional play equipment.”

Meanwhile children’s rides, owned by a concessionaire at the Lake Grounds have been moved to land adjacent to the existing play park for a trial period. Portishead town councillors confirmed that this area overlaps the area for the proposed new items.

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