Elderly residents alarmed at plans for a £150,000 skateboard park opposite their homes

Over 100 elderly residents of a retirement area of Brackley are devastated at plans to site a £150,000+ skate park directly opposite their homes.

By Roseanne Edwards
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 5:00 pm

Brackley Town Council has engaged leisure developer Maverick to draw up plans for the park – which would accommodate skateboarders, BMX riders and scooter riders – on a piece of district council-owned land alongside Brackley Leisure Centre.

The site is directly opposite Juniper House nursing home, Candleford Court assisted living flats and seven elderly folks’ bungalows.

Carolyn Rapolas, who represents the bungalow residents, said: “Why didn’t they ask us before they came up with this plan? We only found out on Facebook by accident. It would be right outside our houses. It’s so disrespectful to the residents of this road. They’ll face us with a fait accompli.”

The site where Brackley Town Council wants to build a modern skate park, alongside homes where over 100 elderly people live

Brackley Town Mayor, Cllr Paul Wiltshire told the Banbury Guardian the cost, at upwards of £150,000, had been identified through various ‘earmarked reserves’ in the Town Council’s coffers.

"It could be more. It is by no means an inexpensive project. We are now looking at how we could fit it on the park so as not to cause anguish to local residents,” he said.

"We have asked a firm of developers to look at the site. There is no set design. There is a consultation going on until the end of June and once this is complete and the results are seen, a design will be produced.

"Then we look at whether the design is what we want and what the users want. It's very much in a state of flux. There's a meeting with residents so we can hear their fears to see what can be done to reassure them and allay their fears.”

The planned skateboard park from the recreation field, facing the elderly people's homes. In the foreground is a slope and residents say the site floods

Mr Wiltshire said the site had been given to the town council by West Northants Council to build the park, which he said Brackley has been calling for for 20 years.

However, Mrs Rapolas said the site was a known flooding area, lower than the recreation field, which would be a fundamental problem for a skate park. But she also said the roads layout would not support more traffic.

"We feel incredibly disappointed and let down by our local councillors that we were not informed of this planning proposal and we had to find out on social media.”

Mrs Rapolas called into question Brackley agreeing such ‘a huge sum being spent on placing a park for a few local youths in an elderly retirement community’.

The green area directly opposite Barchester Homes Juniper House is where the town council wants to site a skateboard park map

"We have no objections for a skatepark for Brackley of course. However, the town council must think about the actual site on which to place it.” she said.

"All the residents are retired and most are disabled. They thought they were living in a quiet cul de sac, then Brackley Town Council has suddenly announced they intend to build a new skate park opposite our homes. As yet they have not consulted us.

Mrs Raposal said a petition had been handed to the town council.

Brackley Town Council’s survey about the skate park can be found here: https://www.maverickskateparks.co.uk/brackley

To see Maverick skate parks around the UK see this illustrated map on the Maverick website. https://www.maverickskateparks.co.uk/map It is advertised as ‘A skater run business specialising in the design and installation of spray concrete skateparks’.