Controversial banning of skateboarding in Kettering to be reviewed tonight

The lower floor of Morrisons car park, Kettering NNL-150502-151509001

The lower floor of Morrisons car park, Kettering NNL-150502-151509001

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The controversial banning of skateboarding in parts of Kettering is to be reviewed at a council meeting tonight (Tuesday).

Last year a Public Space Protection Order was passed by Kettering Council, making it the first authority to class skateboarding a low-level criminal offence.

Under the order, skateboarders are not allowed to skate in Morrisons car park, the pedestrianised area of the town centre, Market Place or the library steps.

Cllr Steve Bellamy (Con, Barton Seagrave) and Cllr Michael Brown (Con, Brambleside) put forward a motion for the executive committee to review and fully discuss potential answers to the “anti-social problem” which was given as a main reason for the order being passed.

The motion is set to be discussed at tonight’s full council meeting, with Cllr Bellamy feeling there is a way around tackling the problem without making it an offence.

He said: “We are requesting that the decision is passed back to the executive to review and reconsider it.

“I feel there is a compromise to be had – there could be a code of conduct instead of it being a criminal offence.

“It could be self-governed and I know some of those oppposed to this order would be happy with this.

“People are classing skateboarding as anti-social but it’s not true, and I think that’s what the executive hung their decision on.

“Bad behaviour is associated with it but it’s an Olympic sport and these youngsters are just practising it.

“I think the decision was taken without enough informed knowlege of the consequences it could have and is whole-heartedly wrong.

“We’ve got a lot of support and we’re hoping that the “whip” will be removed – the original decision was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

Cllr Brown says he wants the executive to listen to their electorate.

He said: “This motion proposes that the inclusion of skateboarding in the recently approved PSPO order for Kettering Council be referred back to the executive immediately for further and a more informed debate, with the option to remove the inclusion of skateboarding from the PSPO as passed by the executive in 2015.

“When you’ve got 300 people filling the council chamber, it’s obvious that there is a very large amount of opposition.

“The Conservative manifesto states that we should be supporting local sports but we are doing the contrary and this needs to be adhered to.

“We need to be listening to our electorate and I expect to get a lot of support on this.”

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