A ROW has erupted over the location of a proposed skate park in Settle which has been on the cards for almost two decades.

The idea to create a park was first mooted in March 2002 when nine youngsters attended Settle annual parish meeting.

They said they were willing to hold fundraising events and ‘put in the hard work required to achieve their dream’.

Town councillors pledged to help them and to form a committee to kick-start the project.

Fast-forward to 2019 and there is still no skate park in Settle, though the funding of £125,000 is in place, but with many people against what the town council says is the only plausible place,

The money raised includes £12,000 from young people’s fundraising as well as the National Lottery and Co-op community funds; £20,468 from an S106 agreement from Skipton Properties; McArthy and Stone £18,627; and Settle Middle School legacy fund £20,000.

Another £5,000 has been applied for from the Freemasons while £49,089 is anticipated from Sport England, though it will only support a site which is owned or leased by the town council.

Over the past few weeks rows have broken out after the town council put forward suggestions to build a 30.5-metre structure on the playing field, off Bond Lane, adjacent to both Booths supermarket and Settle Primary School.

Some have said it is ideal and safe for children, while others feel there is a safeguarding issue.

Placing it there also means a baby’s memorial is in the play area may require being moved to another location in the park and is something the baby’s parents object to.

The town council has said it has exhausted all other potential sites in Settle including its preferred site near the former Settle Middle School.

The council says it has also looked at land at the back of Victoria Hall, Ashfield Car Park, Riverside field, Giggleswick Playing Fields, Settle Football Club, Settle Cricket Club, under the Railway Viaduct and Settle Middle School/swimming pool site. The latter was refused by North Yorkshire County Council back in 2016.

The other sites were either a flood risk or were refused because of future plans.

Settle Town Council chairman Cllr Dan Balsamini said of the Bond Street site: “The site is one of six that the town council has explored over the last 16 years and is the only one that was not unsuitable or refused by the land owner.

“Twenty per cent of the population of Settle is under 17 years old and need facilities. The skateboard park has been a long time coming, the town council will continue to consult on design and work with all the residents of Settle to make the skateboard park a great success.”

On social media, Kate Dinsdale said: “I have been involved with the steering group for the skate park for over two years, my children also being involved with the process. Do you honesty think that as a group alongside the council we have not pursued all options?”

Dylan Hall, a 13-year-old resident wrote to the Craven Herald in response to a printed letter which supported the initiative but opposed the Bond Lane location.

He wrote: “If we don’t get this done now the funding will disappear. As a young person in Settle I know there isn’t anything to do here. Other places like Ingleton, Skipton and Bentham have skate/bike parks.”

But opposition means the Bond Lane site cannot yet be rubber-stamped, even though a contractor has been approached.

Settle resident Jonathan Mounsey said: “As a community we 100 per cent welcome the facility of a new skate park but in a secluded garden next to a primary school next to a busy supermarket entrance really isn’t the right place.”

County Councillor Richard Welch, whose remit is education, said he too had concerns.

“It is a good idea for a skatepark. It is just in the wrong place on a play park next to a primary school presenting safeguarding issues. It is a well used and much loved area. A pint in a half glass springs to mind. Various polls show 90 per cent of the public and parents don’t want it there and I have had a lot of representation about it.”

The governors from Settle Primary School added: “Most of us are behind the idea for a skate park in principle however, the majority of Settle parents who have been recently consulted on the current plans strongly believe that the proposed site is unsuitable. Our youngsters in Settle deserve the very best facilities. No one loses out if the correct site is chosen. Location is key. Choosing the right location means everyone is happy.”

The town council will discuss the issues surrounding the skate park at its meeting to be held on Monday, June 3, at 7pm.