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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Thanet Council Trashed My Skatepark

Just up the road from the Lido in Margate was a small skatepark which local youth had set up  on some derelict Council owned land. They had put considerable effort into developing  the park and a lot of their own money as well.  The park was well used and a great success,  attracting youngsters from around the local area.
 
My understanding is that Thanet Council had said to the young people it was OK to use the land. As far as I am aware there were no plans for the land and there were no complaints from people living near to the park. I have been told that the youngsters planned to establish a proper management committee to run the park and begin to fundraise and develop the park.

But this morning at about 8am a digger arrived and proceeded  to destroy all the months of hard work put into this facility. There was no warning this was going to happen. Apparently there was a problem with the Council's insurance.

What I want to know is  why the Council didn't speak to the youngsters before they trashed the Park? Surely there must have been way round this issue? Perhaps the park could have been closed temporarily until the insurance issues were sorted out, rather than smashing place up.  The fact the Council failed to consult the young people who worked so hard to set up this community facility is a scandal. they are owed an explanation and they are also an apology.

I believe that the least the Council can do is reinstate the skate park at the same location and to the necessary insurance standards as quickly as possible. Would the Council have taken the same action had this been a group of adults who were using derelict land for leisure and recreation. I suspect not.

I will be sending e-mails to the appropriate people tomorrow and insisting that the Council meet with the youngsters and begin to put right the damage they have caused and the restore the trust they have lost

43 comments:

  1. Maybe if the council forked out for a proper park, providing the youngsters something to do that is a bit better than hanging out on street corners intimidating people.

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  2. The young people I met today at the skate park were not intimidating. They were positive. Full of ideas and plans. But their plans had just been destroyed by a Council which didn't have the decency to consult with them. Is it any wonder that young people don't respect organisations like the Council when they are treated like this. If the voting age was 16 (which I support) and we had some young councillors on TDC this would never have happened. TDC is out touch

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    1. Couldn't have worded this better !

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    2. Anonymous27 March 2014 23:15
      How can you say that you don't know all young people you sou d like someone who has never had any involvement with young people atall the council have to consult them because the council were the ones who said it was ok.

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    3. Kids know how to behave when they want something all they want to do is bunk off school get drunk and smoke weed all day just like there parents its the thanet way they don't want to train to get a job or even get one because they have been brought up to collect benefits like there parents.

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  3. Why do the Council have to consult them when it was their land to do with whatever they want? Young people respect nothing because they think they can do what they like regardless of what they are told. Say one of them has a bad accident and takes the council to court. No insurance and they are in trouble. Sorry but maybe the council will fix this and get the insurance in place, but once again the people of Thanet jump before waiting.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. When you percieve everything within the structures of law and ownership you have a very narrow field of vision. The narrative here is not ownership and rights it is in fact about aspiration, dreams, community, creativity and responsibility. Responsibily of actions of creating opportunities and building community. The council exist in relationship with Thanets and specifically in this case Cliftonvilles residents. Before the demolition of the skate park local counsellors intimated and stated they were in full support of the creation of the skate park and the people who took it upon themselves to build it. Making sweeping statements like 'young people respect nothing' is an untruth unless of course you have spoken to all young people and they have told you they respect nothing. My hunch is that you have not. As for Thanet people Jumping before waiting I think there is a strong argument for saying that is exactly what Thanet District Council have done. Surely to create a win win situation TDC could have taken their concerns to the Skaters, explained their predicament and had a conversation with them about how to overcome the issue of insurance and liability. Then all concerned could take steps to remedy it. The skate park could have closed until all insurance problems were addressed and then opened again. The Demolition of the site at 7am in the morning with a police presence is not thoughtful, considerate or wise. Not does it send a message to the community of Cliftonville that they are respected, listened to or deemed worthy of engagement and consideration.

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    4. Totally disagree with your comments ! The teenagers and adults involved in this project are all respectful, polite and enjoy their great hobby/sport and others could learn from them! I

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    5. "Young people respect nothing because they think they can do what they like regardless of what they are told" how on earth can you bring every single young person in to this. Who the hell are you to say all young people have no respect. It's people like you that need to stop being stereotypical and develop an understanding for the world you live in. You are the one with no respect. I have seen the guys down there working bloody hard, so hard they wouldn't have a chance to be disrespectful or intimidating - Not that they would even want to... You sound like a daily mail reader!

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    6. "Sorry but maybe the council will fix this and get the insurance in place" Know something we don't? Why not say who you are then instead of hiding behind an anonymous tag. If a private company can charge for car parking and put up a sign saying cars parked at owners risk, then why can't you simply put up a sign saying Skate at own risk. Health and safety has gone to far. The people invloved should have been informed and they were previously given permission by the council. However back to your comment "Young people respect nothing because they think they can do what they like regardless of what they are told." I am 31 and I don't respect you or your Daily Mail bullshit opinion (you see you generalised, well so can I Fuckwit).

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    7. Teaching youths that democracy is bullshit and it's ok to over promise an under deliver. Good work TCD . How about you pay those kids an hourly wage for the work they put in, and reimburse their costs if you are so worried about legal problems you selfish, inconsiderate bastards. Good luck controlling this generation drug problem when you literally provid nothing for kids or unemployed youths to do and disregard all of their positive efforts!

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    8. Original poster is the one who shows a lack of respect. A lack of respect for motivated, resourceful and passionate young people... And I have a lack of respect for the original poster.

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    9. 1. Anonymous27 March 2014 23:15
      How can you say that you don't know all young people you sou d like someone who has never had any involvement with young people atall the council have to consult them because the council were the ones who said it was ok

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    10. The last I heard, the council worked for the people on behalf of the people, if this was happening in my parish we would have consulted the youths and tried our hardest to make this area work for everyone. Derelict sites are an eye saw and there isn't enough about to inspire youngsters so why not talk to and try to help those that show initiative? They are our future and its not them that have caused this harsh society we live in, give them the chance to show what they can do and they will make us proud!

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    11. no skateboarder would sue because they hurt themselves, because we know that when we start doing that we will lose all the skate spots. the council removed this park to stop all you litigation-loving non-skateboarders from suing when YOU got hurt by falling over an obstacle drunk, or letting your children play in the park unsupervised

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  4. I am disgusted by TDC action towards the skate park. The youngsters were doing something positive for their community and this it what happens!

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  5. Most skaters dont 'hang out on street corners intimidating people', primarily because, from what I have seen of virtually all the skateboarders I have worked with as a youth worker at WYCC, THEY ARE TOO INTERESTED IN SKATEBOARDING. They dont want to waste their time 'hanging out' when they could be skating. The big problem with this situation is that the youngsters didnt need anything from the council but to be left alone, and the classic 'insurance' arguement, naturally the first course of action to take when there is any problem regarding the safety/insurance cover for an unofficial facility is to trash it first. Strange this was never brought up when the council first brought about a stop to the build, then allowed it to continue. Seems like they should have raised the point then. Do they stop to wonder why people are disillusioned with government, on any level??

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  6. What a disgrace. I lived in Thanet for a few years as a teenager and I skated alot, when the weather permitted it, but the lack of local facilities meant no real social focal point for local street skaters. I soon found myself skating less and doing other things. During that time I took the most drugs Ive ever taken in my life. The two things may not be linked if you do not provide places for kids to go skate then they will find other things to do to satisfy that thirst for excitement and adrenaline. This was handled amazingly badly by the council. What a great example of what not to do!

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  7. This is disgusting! The organisers were given hope that the council was going to help support this spontaneous project. Instead all trust has gone out of the window as well as the money that people have put into building the skate park. How can the council be trusted when the organisers were not told and did not have any way of appealing the decision.

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  8. TDC Crazy Paving Iniative! Those flags could have been recycled!

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  9. Boris Johnson knows the value of keeping young people sweet! http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/15/southbank-skatepark-boris-johnson

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  10. Forgive my ignorance but surely a simple disclaimer visible to all - ie 'Skate at your own risk' etc etc, would absolve the council of any responsibility?

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    1. That's exactly my thought!

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  11. communication is the key here, if there is none then the grape vine takes over and the rumur mill starts. The first thing TDC should have done is talk to those who use it.

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  12. I met these guys when they were putting it together & they are motivated lovely people. I have a young daughter and she had lost her botton on the skate Park & was so upset and all the guys stopped what they were doing and helped my daughter find her botton! And they found it! So like i said they are amazing bunch of lads! I hope they get all the signatures they need!!!

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  13. I agree with all of the above. My son was involved in building the skate park. He often mentioned how the local non-English speaking children also came to help and also offered their own pocket money to help towards the cost of it. This was helping to bring together children from different towns and backgrounds. My son does NOT "hang around", neither is he any way "intimidating". He is a very thoughtful, caring young man who doesn't drink or smoke. He enjoys salteboarding, which is a sport, which one the council should be encouraging. My son and his skateboarding friends are the kinds of teenagers any parent would be very proud of !

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  14. Young people around margate have nothing. They need positives not negative .
    Support not the older generation being negative!
    Not all young people hang out on street corners to make u feel uncomfortable. Do u ever think that maybe if they had somthing like this to work on and be given some respect for doing it. Maybe the council could work with them not against them. I walked past on a few occasions and admired what they were achieving. Not once did I feel intimidated.

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  15. This is just another TDC led debarcle. Instead of just speaking to all the kids and adults that put so much effort, money and time into the park for a plot of land that had no proposed plans is disgraceful. None of the councillors have got the spines to face up to them and because there was no backhander or benefit to any of the councillors they decided to do what they do best. Mess it up!!! There is very little for kids to do in Thanet and this would of been one little step closer to making this history. I am a 45 year old skater and things like this infuriate me on a personal level. Well done TDC parasites!!!

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  16. Typical TDC, Run by corrupt monkeys!
    Good on the lads that put it together, don't be disheartened by this.
    Good luck, Ben.

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  17. Once again skaters were not consulted before action was taken....a bit like the Southbank Centre thinking they can redevelop The Undercroft without anybody saying owt - we know how that turned out!
    I sincerely hope that Thanet Council realise the error of their ways and reinstate the park or do they like skaters on the streets?

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  18. Geoff Glendenning28 March 2014 at 12:27

    Utterly shocking for the council to act in this way: skateboarders are generally nice polite young people dedicated to mastering one of the most technically difficult sports in the world. The fact that they created a community facility with their own time and money is a great demonstration of how communities are taking the initiative where the council has failed to provide funding to support young people. The council should be ashamed of the way they have dealt with this issue and I hope they will now be looking to invest a significant amount of time and money to find a way of funding a proper park; perhaps with the support of lottery money, local fundraising and brand sponsorship.

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  19. I think its a great shame that Clive Hart ordered the destruction of a community facility that only two weeks ago he had publicly praised. If it was an issue of insurance - work with the group to work out an issue - dont just bulldozer their dreams! That site was used by thousands of locals who couldnt afford to get a bus to pay £6 for two hours skating up St Peters. Real people. From all communities. All skating together.

    Yet the council failed to consult with the community. Shocking decision. Bad work Clive

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  20. It isn't rocket science to allow a group to purchase a peppercorn lease from tdc absolving them of any liability and then supporting them in finding insurance. Then they would have control of their destiny. I hope the builders of the park sue tdc for their actions to recoup what they have spent on it. In legal terms agreeing, if only verbally, to let them build the park is a contract in law

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  21. Did they have Planning consent, insurance, or a Health and Safety Audit? Probably not...why should rules only apply to a few? Get real Cllr Driver, we live in a society that will sue at the drop of a hat!

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    1. then the problem is with society, not with a small group of people that tried to make their world a better place

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    2. then the problem is with society, not with a small group of people that tried to make their world a better place

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  22. Same old Thanet district council. Love wasting money on just about anything.

    The money it probably cost them to get the contractors in and bulldoze it down they could have just paid for insurance.

    Knee jerk reactions yet again. I really hope they issue an explanation

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  23. WHY THEY TRASHED THE SKATEPARK
    So here is a document setting out the reasons why Thanet Council trashed the skatepark.

    1. The Council commissioned a report from the Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) . Question was this report shared with the skaters?
    2. The report identified risks. Was there any discussion with the skaters about the risks identified in the ROPSA report about how to reduced or manage the risks?
    3. The document noted that the skaters had attempted to reduce risk. Was this risk reduction carried out before or after the ROSPA report had been published
    4. The document said that legal advice had been obtained which said that the work of the skaters was not enough to reduce risk. Was this legal report shared with the skaters?
    5. Did the Council meet the skaters to discuss how the risks could be eliminated and managed up to the standard of the legal advice?
    6. Were the skaters given any opportunity to carry out work to minimise and eliminate the risk identified in the ROSPA report and the legal advice?
    7. Did the Council consider the temporary closure of the park to carry out the works to make it safe and bring into line with the ROSPA report and legal advice
    8. Did the Council estimate how much it would cost to carry out the works to park in order to bring it into compliance with ROSPA report and legal advice?

    I think the answer to most of these questions is probably NO! Please post and tell me I am wrong. I am right then the Council is bang out of order and behaved like an A***hole. There needs to be a major campaign to sort this mess out and I will be 100% behind it. I will be writing to the Council's Chief Executive who made this unfair decision to seek a full explanation.
    posted by Ian on FB

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    1. Those guys showed us the initial ROSPA report, ROSPA were happy with their work...

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  24. another TDC fail

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