The council is currently consulting on the idea of putting a skate park into Elthorne Park. There is a little history to this. Last year we ran a Youth Provision Specialist Scrutiny Panel, see final report here. This was in turn a follow up to the annual Youth Conference we have held since 2007. As part of this work we asked 18,000 young people how they would spend £1 million to improve youth provision. Some of the answers that came back were improve parks and provide a skate park. It seemed natural to combine these.
The council believes that a high quality skate park in a park setting would be an asset to the borough and would be well used and popular with young people. The next question is where to put it. A number of locations have been considered. We got down to three: Ealing Central Sports Ground in Perivale, Elthorne Park, Hanwell and Northala Fields, Northolt. All three have their appeal but Elthorne Park stands out due to the distance away from neighbouring homes, proximity to the sports centre at Elthorne Park High School where there is a manned reception, an easy link to CCTV, toilets, etc. The site can easily be viewed from the road – a big plus from a security point of view.
We have NOT decided to go ahead with this project. We feel that this is a realistic and worthwhile project and we are putting it to the public in this consultation. We have sent out a special version of the consultation to 2,500 local residents. These are the important people here. We also put a piece in the July issue of Around Ealing to steer people to the more general version for other borough residents on the website here.
For Hanwell people, especially people living near to Elthorne Park, we have a classic NIMBY issue. Most people would like to see more facilities for young people but would perhaps prefer to see someone else hosting them. We do think this is a good location and one where young people can have a great facility without bugging the neighbours (too much).
I was disappointed to see a picture of six lonely looking protestors on page 4 of the Ealing and Acton Gazette yesterday. Carolyn Brown, who styles herself chair of Hanwell Community Forum, was pictured along with five other people, and two dogs, under the headline “We don’t want a skate park”. She might have waited for the consultation results before she ran off to the paper. Having been a portfolio holder for over a year I have never received a letter or an e-mail from this woman but she seems to be in the paper every few minutes. She has certainly done a better job of getting her photo in the paper than I have. I am always a bit suspicious that Hanwell Community Forum is not much more than a platform for Ms Carolyn Brown, certainly I can’t find any notices of meetings, minutes, etc online. She says:
If consultation shows that there is a genuine demand in Ealing for a skate park then we (I) would support that. But Ealing is a very big place, so we (I) are (am) wondering why they would have to put a skate-boarding facility in the middle of Elthorne Park. This is a site which is regularly used by people of all ages, and the trees and grass are vital to the area. This would create noise and disturbance.
People having fun usually is a bit noisy. Sorry. I do think this is a good site and I accept we are asking a lot of the neighbours. You have until 17th July to take part in the consultation. Being both a local (next door) councillor and the person in charge of parks I am particularly interested in your opinion. I think this is a great project and I hope that Hanwell backs it.