Housing could lead to Horncastle skate park funding

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Councillors in Horncastle have been told funding raised via new housing developments in town could hold the key to ambitious plans for a new skate park and recreation ground.

The town council is determined to provide the new facility for ‘young adults’ in the town.

Town councillor David Stott - who heads a working group looking into the viability of the scheme - said there was a lack of suitable places for youngsters.

Speaking at a town council meeting last week, he said a recreation ground/skate park would be ‘far better than teenagers hanging around on street corners.’

However, the town council accepts the entire project could hinge on attracting funding.

East Riding District Council Portfolio Holder for Market Towns and the Rural Economy, Coun Adam Grist, was at the town council meeting.

He was asked by Coun Stott whether ELDC had any funding available for the project and, if not, what was the best way of securing money.

Coun Grist admitted there was no provision in ELDC’s budget.

He said what money was available was already allocated to maintaining the smaller children and toddlers’ playgrounds currently owned by ELDC.

However, he suggested the town council could attempt to ensure any new housing developments in Horncastle included a ‘Section 106 Agreement’ for a recreational facility.

An agreement would tie a developer into paying money which would then be used for various improvements in the town, including a possible recreation ground/skate park.

Coun Grist said: “Something like this could have potentially been ideal for perhaps Sport England or the National Lottery but there is a lot less money around.

“I would think Section 106 Agreements are the best way forward.

“I know how difficult they can be to put in place but it might be worth trying.”

The town council is currently in the process of identifying potential sites for the proposed facility.

Several locations have been mentioned including Bain Valley Park, The Wong and the existing playground area off Prospect Street.

Those sites are owned by ELDC but potentially could be handed over to the town council as part of a transfer of assets.

The town council has often been critical of previous attempts to set up 106 agreements .

Councillors claim the town has missed out on thousands of pounds which could have improved roads, health facilities, schools and general infra-structure - because of poorly presented applications for money.

A recreation ground/skate park is still some way off and even if 106 Agreements are put in place, any money is likely to be allocated to more important projects - like schools and the NHS.

Coun Stott stressed the town council would carry on exploring whether a new youth facility is viable.