Concerns over ‘crazy’ delay to skatepark applications

PLANNING applications for two new skateparks have yet to be officially registered, despite both being submitted weeks ago.

Hugo Gouveia at the existing New North Quay skatepark. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30748216)
Hugo Gouveia at the existing New North Quay skatepark. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30748216)

More than two months have passed since proposals for a skatepark at Les Quennevais Sports Centre were lodged, while an application for a facility at South Hill Gardens was submitted in mid-March.

A ‘compromise’ to take forward both sites rather than just one was agreed by the States in February, following controversy about the appropriate area for a new facility.

A government spokesperson said the Planning Department had yet to receive all of the information required to validate the applications. Planners were also handling a large number of applications at the moment, the spokesperson added.

The delays have led to concerns being raised about time being ‘wasted’ on an issue which has already dragged on and to calls for a dedicated urban-sport minister.

St Brelade resident Anthony Tobin said he had surfed and skated all his life and now takes his children to the current skate facilities in town and St John, but that these were ‘very overcrowded’. He said skating and surfing were a ‘lifestyle’ in Jersey.

‘I would like to see better facilities,’ said Mr Tobin, who added that it was ‘absolutely crazy’ the applications had not been registered yet. He said that over 170 other planning applications had been registered in the past 30 days.

‘I think Jersey should actually create an urban-sport minister,’ he said, adding that such a position could better represent the community in the States.

Mr Tobin called skating an accessible sport, regardless of gender or age.

He said: ‘I would encourage anyone to do it.’

He also highlighted that the likes of BMX professional Alex Coleborn showed that Jersey had talent in ‘all disciplines’.

Former Les Quennevais student Mr Coleborn is currently training for the 2021 Olympic Games and told the JEP in January that Jersey needed suitable facilities for Islanders to turn their hobby into a career.

Senator Steve Pallett, meanwhile, said he was ‘disappointed’ that it was taking so long for the skatepark planning applications to be processed.

The Senator formerly had political responsibility for sport and has been heavily involved in the Les Quennevais site proposal.

‘It has been two months of time that has been wasted, when we know there are so many people out there who want the skate park to be delivered.

‘It is letting down young people,’ he said.

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