Landmark skatepark project given approval by district planners

A ‘ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION skatepark in Lyme Regis has been given the go ahead by district planners.

Artist's impression of news skateparkPlanning permission for Lyme Regis Town Council’s £150,000 skatepark was approved by West Dorset District Council’s Development Control Committee.

The facility, designed by skatepark construction experts Wheelscape, will be located in the north east corner of Charmouth Road car park.

Supporters have welcomed the decision on the long-awaited project, which has the unanimous support of the town council and strong backing from the community.

Cllr Lucy Campbell, who has taken a lead on the project over the last 10 years, said: “It’s a fantastic result for the town. It’s been a long-awaited project and this is a huge milestone in the process. I couldn’t really believe it when we got to that point.”

Speaking at the planning meeting, Cllr Campbell told district councillors there had been ‘extensive consultation’ with the community, police, youth services and young people to deliver a ‘usable and safe park’.

She said: “We have spent a long time looking for a suitable site, which meets the needs of the skatepark users, but would also co-exist comfortably alongside neighbouring properties.”

Cllr Campbell said the town ‘desperately needed’ facilities like this in the town, which can be accessed on foot and used free of charge.

“The benefits this park could bring to our young people are great,” she said. “It will give them something to do with their spare time, a safe place to meet and socialise and provide a place to develop their skills.”

The planning application received 64 letters of support, compared with 12 letters of objection.

Cllr Campbell praised the co-operation of the community, including local fundraisers and young people taking a lead in the design process.

She said: “For our town, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity but we could not have got to this point without the commitment of West Dorset District Council to transfer the land to us. For that we are eternally grateful.”

John Gage spoke at the meeting on behalf of the young people. He said afterwards: “I’m happy that we’ve finally got our skatepark.

“It’s going to be quite a bit of kit for the town, both socially and for people honing their skills. I know that a lot of people have fought long and hard to get it, so it’s about time.”

Cheryl Reynolds, secretary and events’ organiser of the Skatepark Fundraising Organisation, also spoke at the planning meeting.

She said £13,000 had been raised over 13 months – a ‘great achievement’ for a small town, which demonstrated the community’s support for the facility.

“We could not have achieved this without the support of many local people,” she said.

Mrs Reynolds added: “This project has been over 40 years in the making, but this time has virtually unanimous support from the community, and also from Lyme Regis Town Council.”