Unsafe Lee-on-the-Solent skatepark to stay closed officials have said

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A skatepark in Lee-on-the-Solent “cannot re-open” and the borough council leader said it would be “utterly irresponsible” to do so as it is not safe.

The borough’s new deputy mayor, and Lee East ward councillor, Kirsten Bradley (Lib Dem), asked the leader of the council what was happening with the skate park at Pirates Cove, next to the ‘On the Water’ restaurant as residents had been asking.

In response, Councillor Peter Chegwyn (Lib Dem, Forton) said it was closed, first temporarily and now permanently because it was “poorly constructed, poorly designed, unsafe and put in the wrong place”.

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He said it was “interesting” that the new Lee West councillor Stevyn Ricketts (Con) had been on social media asking when it would be reopened because, when he was a council officer, knew about the skate park when it was under construction.

The skatepark in Lee-on-the-SolentThe skatepark in Lee-on-the-Solent
The skatepark in Lee-on-the-Solent

Cllr Chegwyn said: “It seems we have safety reports going back many years saying the park is unsafe. Saying it needs work. Work that was not done. It was allowed to remain open until Councillor Westerby discovered the situation.” He said it remained open when senior officers and councillors of this authority knew it was unsafe.

An independent report on its safety found, among other issues, that there was a lack of space around some of the features which made it unsafe if a user fell, the concrete surface was in a terrible condition, and ramp safety barriers were not fit for purpose.

Below are some key dates that Councillor Chegwyn talked about:

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  • In June 2010, the skatepark was installed where the splash park is now. In 2018, the decision made by the Conservative-led council was to install a splash park at the location and move the skate park further along the seafront.
  • In 2019, the flow and layout was felt unsafe and not opened because of safety.
  • In October 2020, safety concerns were raised by the late Councillor Maggie Morgan and Councillor Philip Raffaelli about the “dangerous” layout.
  • By October 2021, there was a “damning” safety inspection with deterioration generally. In December 2021 papers were drawn up for restoration work but the work was never done.
  • In March 2022, a report for maintenance said no reports of previous work could be found.

He said, in a nutshell, it was kept open when it should have been closed and thank goodness no child had been hurt. Cllr Chegwyn told the meeting: “As a council, we cannot re-open it and you should not be asking for it to be re-opened on social media when it has been declared repeatedly to be unsafe. It would be utterly irresponsible to do so.”

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