A JEDBURGH bed and breakfast operator says a child could be killed if a £150,000 skatepark goes ahead in area of town mums have earmarked for it.
Parents hope to set up the facility in the Dip between the A68 and the Jed Water but have not submitted plans to Scottish Borders Council (SBC).
Walter Kerr, whose Kenmore Bank B&B overlooks the Dip said: “We’re not against a skatepark but the Dip is the wrong place. Someone would be killed.”
He describes putting a concrete park in the conservation area as “vandalism”, saying it can be seen from Jedburgh Abbey and arguing that the “overpowering visual and noise impact” would be “distressing” to residents and devalue the elegant town of Jedburgh.
But his primary concern is for the children he said: “The Dip would be a very dangerous location for young, unsupervised children, They would be next to the busy A68 and beside the Jed Water which is the second fastest flowing river in Scotland.”
He also said that the Dip was well used by other groups and suggested instead the Glebe area of the town or Allerley Well Park for a skatepark.
But Sally-Ann Pirt of the Jed Skatepark Group said health and safety experts and the police were happy with the Dip site because it was close to the road for emergency vehicle access.
The group looked at other sites, including the Glebe, but access, was the problem, said Mrs Pirt, whose son rides a BMX.
The group is about to put forward pre-planning details, including a choice of designs, drainage plans and lighting ideas, to SBC. After consultation with officials, the group plans a public meeting to talk about their ideas and get feedback.
The green concrete structure would go in the centre of the Dip with benches made from recycled materials.
Mrs Pirt maintained: “It it will be broken up – it won’t be a solid blob – and there will be a big area still grassed. At the moment, the centre of the Dip is a bog and no-one uses it.”
She has spoken to council officials and environmental watchdog SEPA about drainage. Lighting would be solar and “like old fashioned Victorian street lights” she said. There would be no floodlighting. The area would be fenced, with a staggered entrance. The group is confident of SBC support.
Mrs Pirt said: “The big plan is to have a website and work with B&Bs, hotels and others in the area so we can promote them as places where families and older folk who are diehard skaters and BMXers can stay.
“People drive hundreds of miles to a good skatepark. We hope to be part of a triangle with people going to Edinburgh, coming to us and going on to Newcastle.
“This isn’t just about having a skatepark. It’s about bringing tourists in, instead of the coachloads that park in the Glebe and go away again. We hope visitors will stay and spend money. We don’t have anything for young adults and children to do, this will encourage them to exercise. Jedburgh needs this.”
For more information see the Jed Skatepark Project on Facebook or contact Mrs Pirt at firstname.lastname@example.org