District Council could hold the key to plans for new skate park

Could The Wong be transformed into a skate park and recreation area as part of an asset transfer from ELDC to Horncastle Town Council?
Could The Wong be transformed into a skate park and recreation area as part of an asset transfer from ELDC to Horncastle Town Council?

Ambitious plans for a new skate park in Horncastle could hinge on whether town councillors agree to take on assets currently owned and administered by East Lindsey District Council.

Town councillors have identified a skate park - including a children’s recreation area - as a major long-term project.

Possible sites - including Bain Valley Park, Prospect Street Recreation Ground and The Wong - are owned by East Lindsey.

The News revealed last week that ELDC is considering transferring ownership and control of some of its assets to town and parish councils.

Horncastle is the first town in the entire district to enter into talks with East Lindsey.

Interestingly, Bain Valley Park, Prospect Street and The Wong are included in a document listing ELDC’s assets in Horncastle, details of which were presented to town councillors at meeting earlier this month.

The town council has set up a working group to consider the possibility of asset transfers.

Once a decision is reached - and a list drawn up - talks will be held between the two authorities.

Town councillors have, for example, expressed an interest in taking on ELDC owned car parks which generated over £250,000 in the last financial year - and a surplus of almost £160,000.

Other areas of land and buildings could be ‘on offer’ although town councillors have given a cautious welcome to the idea of taking on additional assets and questioned whether East Lindsey would hand over ‘anything that makes money’.

Details in the asset document show ELDC actually lost money on Bain Valley Park and the Prospect Street Recreation Ground neither generated any income but cost around £3,000 to maintain.

The position regarding The Wong/Cattle Market is complicated because the site currently includes a car park which reported a loss of £800 in the last financial year.

Coun David Scott heads a town council working group looking at a skate park and recreation area and he confirmed they were considering sites

He said: “We have been waiting for details from ELDC because there are sites that might interest us. There’s also a piece of privately owned land off Jubilee Way and we are hoping to meet the owner.”

The prospect of a skate park and recreation area is still some way off but securing the land as an asset transfer would have benefits.

However, town councillor Maurice Lamb has urged caution, particularly with regard to any financial implications that may be involved in the transfer of any assets.

xxxxDistrict Council Assets

The list of assets owned by East Lindsey District Council in Horncastle makes interesting reading.

Apart from car parks, there are recreational areas, sports facilities, factory and workshop units, public toilets and various buildings - including Stanhope Hall.

The document listing all assets also included the town market which actually reported a loss of £35,000 in in 2015/16.

Exactly what assets ELDC would be prepared to transfer to town council control is still unclear,

ELDC spokesman James Gilbert told the News last week that nothing was off the agenda.

However, he conceded ELDC might be reluctant to transfer the Bain Valley car park which generated a surplus of almost £97,000 - vital revenue that the authority used to pay for other services and keep council tax rises down.

At the other end of the scale, the public toilets ‘lost’ almost £16,000.