Council heads off yob fears as recreation area plan is backed

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A prominent Horncastle town councillor has moved to allay residents’ fears that a new recreation area off Prospect Street will lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour.

Coun Angela Birchall was speaking as town councillors agreed at their monthly meeting last week to transfer £50,000 into an account as their contribution towards the ambitious project.

The meeting heard the money equated to around 20 per cent of the projected overall cost, although a final figure will not be known until the actual design of the area has been agreed.

The likelihood of the development going ahead off Prospect Street has increased as the land is included in a list of proposed assets that could be transferred from district council to town council control (see adjoining page).

The new facility will feature equipment for ‘wheeled activities’ although councillors stress it will not ‘just be a skate park’ but a multi purpose facility for all age groups.

However, resident Andrew Neal told the meeting many people were concerned about the impact of ‘noise and nuisance’ on neighbouring properties.

Mr Neal said the area was already a popular hangout for teenagers, which led to problems with anti-social behaviour - including, he claimed, drinking and drug taking.

Mr Neal questioned whether plans would include CCTV and extra lighting, to reduce the risk of problems.

He pointed out that an adjoining children’s play park has been vandalised.

Coun Birchall is a member of a town council working group overseeing the project.

She confirmed members of the group were aware of residents’ concerns, but there was a need to provide a recreational facility.

She told the meeting she had ‘knocked on the door’ of as many residents as possible to explain details of the project.

She acknowledged people were apprehensive about ASB issues, but also agreed a fully equipped facility could actually reduce any ASB trouble.

Coun Birchall said the new area would be sighted ‘well away’ from homes in Prospect Street.

She said: “Many residents said teenagers tended to congregate close to the bottom of their gardens and welcome the fact the new area would be further away.”

Coun Birchall and Coun Matthew Wilkinson told the meeting they we talking with consultants and the issue of potential ASB was high on the agenda.

Coun Wilkinson said: “I want to stress this is not just a skate park and it is not just something for teenagers.

“It is something for all age groups - children, families, older people. It needs to happen.”