Desborough skatepark to be demolished immediately

Belinda Humfrey (left) at the Desborough skatepark
Belinda Humfrey (left) at the Desborough skatepark

The chairman of a town’s youth group says she is appalled at the thought a council is planning to demolish a skate park.

Belinda Humfrey, who chairs the Desborough Youth Action Group, says Kettering council has said it will send in the bulldozers on Friday afternoon – unless the group demolishes the site itself.

The council, which owns the land on which the skatepark is situated, at The Hawthorns next to the old leisure centre, said the facility posed a serious risk to users.

In a statement, a council spokesman said: “Kettering Council as the landowner of the Desborough Skate Park, has been advised that the skate park must be immediately removed as it is not safe and represents an imminent and immediate danger to users.

“ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) advised last October that the risk of serious accident was high and in their most recent report on June 14, informed the council that the skate park should not continue to be used, and that it was beyond repair and was at the end of its useful life.”

But Ms Humfrey said her group would fight the planned demolition.

She said: “It’s an appalling shock for me to get a letter on Tuesday afternoon telling me the place was getting demolished at 5pm on Friday unless I demolished it myself.

“We are just a small charity which has been raising the money year after year for 15 years.”

The park is currently locked, which Ms Humfrey argued posed more problems, saying: “It’s more unsafe now because children can get in over the fence but adults can’t.”

Valerie Hitchman, head of community services at Kettering council, said: “The council has written to the Desborough Youth Action Group explaining that the skate park cannot remain in place.

“We have tolerated the management of the site in the hope that matters would improve, but we do not want children to be at risk and we are sure that the trustees and their insurers don’t want this either.

“It is disappointing, as the hope was that the facility would be safe to use until September when it was due to close.

“We have asked them to clear the site by Friday and meanwhile the site has to remain secured. If the trustees cannot clear the site, the council will take action to do so.”