Portishead skate park group wins appeal

SKATERS in Portishead will be celebrating today (Wed) after it was announced a skate park at the town’s Lake Grounds has been given the go ahead.

Planning inspector Roger Eagle has given his approval to the plans following a planning appeal hearing held on November 2.

This followed a decision made by North Somerset Council in February to refuse the proposals put forward by Portishead Skatepark Project on the grounds the skate park would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the Lake Grounds and would also cause noise and disturbance for residents.

During the appeal hearing, residents living near the site raised similar concerns.

However, in his decision letter, Mr Eagle has said he does not believe the sunken concrete structure planned for an area adjacent to Esplanade Road would have an adverse impact on the overall view of the Lake Grounds.

He states that while the Lake Grounds is predominantly an open space, there are other structures including a car park, cafe, play area and boat house, which are also all sited adjacent to Esplanade Road.

Using a coloured concrete and with it sunken into the ground, he has also said he does not think the structure would appear ‘unduly prominent’.

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During the appeal hearing, many concerns were raised about the prospect of the skate park causing an increase in antisocial behaviour at the Lake Grounds.

However, due to the fact CCTV will be installed at the site, a management plan will be put in place and the fact the skate park will not provide any shelter for gathering groups of teenagers, Mr Eagle has concluded the facility would not harm the living conditions of nearby residents in terms of noise and disturbance.

Attached to his decision to allow the appeal, are a number of conditions that were discussed by both parties during the appeal hearing.

These include a condition preventing the development taking place until details of a landscaping scheme are approved and the fact that any trees, hedges or plants that die within five years of the park being completed will have to be replaced in the next planting season.

Details of the concrete to be used will also have to be submitted before work can start and no external lighting will be allowed on the site.

The skate park should also not be used until a monitored CCTV system, linked into North Somerset Council’s system with infrared capability, has been installed and is operational.

A management plan between Portishead Skatepark Project and the town’s police, setting out measures to mitigate and reduce crime-related issues on site, will also have to be approved before the facility can be used.

This is a big step in the group’s efforts to get a new skate park built in the town.

However, its members and supporters will now have to wait and see whether North Somerset Council gives its consent for the facility to be built on its land.