Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Skate park update

This morning ward councillors and Stockton Council officers met on site in Preston Park to look at the development of the skate facility.  Although the initial drawings show the whole site being more or less filled it's more likely that only about two thirds of the available land will be taken up with the jumps etc.  The rest will be available for some landscaping and for what I've described as an outdoor visitor centre - an area which can include some explanatory boards, signs to the various areas of the park, perhaps some seating and some good trees to provide shade and variety in the landscape.
The crazy golf is certainly showing signs of old age, but by working with the person running it at present it now seems possible that a mobile crazy golf could be set up in summer to give even more variety to the activities on offer in the park.
We also looked at possible extra footpaths, particularly to give safe and level access from the woodland entrance used by many people who arrive by bus or walking from the station or from the southern part of Eaglescliffe.  At the moment there is a problem of visibility when returning from the park to that path, because of the trees and shrubs to the rear of Butterfly World, but some changes there could open up the view and make it both easier and safer to cross.
Changes to car parking are also being planned for the longer term, to enable a better flow of vehicles in and out of the park and to make it safer for pedestrians.  Watch out - the speed humps might grow!
The money available for the skate facility won't cover all the costs of other work of course, and ward councillors have agreed that looking towards using some of our ward budget would be a good way to help with the cost of footpaths and such like.  It was also suggested that Preston Parish Council might like to raise a precept for a year to help, but that might not be so popular.  I can understand people not wanting to pay extra for a facility which will be enjoyed by people from all over the North East region.
We'll have a better idea of costs when the plans are drawn up in the next few weeks, but speaking personally I feel excited that at long last a plan is being worked up which is realistic and affordable rather than the ones produced by consultants in the past which were neither without large amounts of outside funding.  I hope that the young people who've been consulted on the design will recognise their input when it's completed.