Decade-long Portishead skate park planning row resolved

The Lake Grounds in Portishead
Image caption The skate park will be built on land at the Lake Grounds in Portishead

Applause broke out in a council chamber when a 10-year planning conflict came to an end.

In 2010, permission was granted to build a skate park in Portishead but the project has repeatedly been blocked by local councillors.

The row has dragged on so long that some of the young people who first fought for the facility now have children of their own.

North Somerset Council has now agreed to a 25-year lease for the skate park.

Planning permission for the skate park at Portishead's Lake Grounds, which would be used by BMX and skateboard riders, was granted on appeal by a planning inspector in November 2010.

A report to the council's executive meeting on Tuesday said the council refused to grant landlord's consent 10 years ago because Portishead's six ward members wanted the site to be a place for the quiet enjoyment of all residents. 

Despite the opposition from councillors, support for the skate park has always been high in the town - a survey of nearly 3,000 people in 2017 showed 90% wanted it to be built.

Image copyright Portishead WASP
Image caption An early artist's impression of how the Portishead Skate Park could look

The skate park is the brainchild of Ben Aldridge, who told North Somerset's executive members at the meeting: "This is something the youth have needed for many years.

"We've had tremendous support from our town and district councillors - a level of support we've never received in the past."

At last May's council elections, the Conservative incumbents were voted out and replaced with independent councillors who support the plans. 

The executive agreed to award a 25-year lease so the skate park can be built in the Lake Grounds, allowing campaigners to apply for grant funding.

They will also have to reapply for planning permission as the original permission has expired.

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