“Today is a momentous day for all the children, young people and adults who have waited patiently for nearly five years.”
So said a jubilant Sally-Ann Pirt, chair of the Jed Skateboard Group, after Monday’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee.
Councillors had agreed unanimously to grant consent for the creation of a £200,000 state-of-the-art skateboard park on a greenfield site – known locally as The Dip – just to the south of Jedburgh’s tourist information centre.
The choice of such a central site was contentious, as evidenced by 96 submissions of objection, although the committee heard that 84 of these had been identical “pro forma” letters and that only half the dissenters lived in the town.
Nevertheless, they railed against the suitability of the site which lies between the arterial A68 and the Jed Water, claiming the amenity of an area, popular with dog walkers and picnickers, would be “devalued”, that views to and from Jedburgh Abbey would be compromised and that the skateboard park would generate unacceptable levels of noise for residents.
Set against that hostility, however, were 196 letters supporting the project, stressing the lack of such facilities in the town and the need for a safe environment for local skateboarders and BMX bikers.
Supporters said the park would attract visitors, increase footfall in the town, combat crime and antisocial behaviour and promote the health and wellbeing of young people.
The bid was also backed by Jedburgh Community Council and SBC planning officer Deborah Chalmers ,who noted that consultants had deemed additional noise from the park to be of “marginal significance” for the three nearest residential properties.
“The skatepark can be satisfactorily accommodated within the site,” said Ms Chalmers. “It is not considered the proposal will result in any adverse significant impact on flood risk, listed buildings, archaeology, the conservation area, trees or the Jed Water.”
Mrs Pirt told us: “I salute everyone who has stuck by this project, kept the faith and allowed us to win the battle.”