SETTLE residents who have spoken out against plans to build a skate park in a children’s play area off Bond Lane are pinning their hopes on a future meeting with the county council.

County Councillor Richard Welch told a meeting of Settle Town Council on Monday that plans for the play area should be ‘put on hold’ while North Yorkshire County Council is approached again on the former middle school site.

The site was the preferred choice of the town council to place the £125,000 skate park, but have been knocked back by the county council who are the landowners.

Cllr Welch said: “I have been inundated with representations against the Bond Lane site. There is clear support for the skate park, but not necessarily in that position. I think it is time, for you as a council, to take a step backwards and listen to the rate payers of this town.”

Cllr Welch said he, along with Cllr Wendy Hull and David Staveley, were meeting with North Yorkshire County Council in just over a week’s time to press them on their plans for the middle school site and put forward a proposal to open talks about releasing land to place the skate park there.

Jon Holden, North Yorkshire County Council’s head of property service said: “Since the closure of the former Settle Middle School site we have been working with members of the local community and current users to consider a number of proposed future uses of the site”

“We recognise that the site of the former Settle Middle School represents an important opportunity for the development of a range of new facilities. We are working with a number of different organisations to understand the financial and other implications associated with each proposal. One of these proposals raised by local stakeholders would involve the relocation of health facilities to the site by others and we are working with them to explore how this could work. No decision can be made about use of the site until these considerations are complete.”

Other sites around the town have drawn similar blanks for various reasons including flooding, proximity to houses and future development plans..

A £50,000 grant from Sport England requires the land the skate park to be sited on to be either owned by the town council or the subject of a long-term lease. The offer of the funding is due to expire in October.

Around 30 Settle residents attended Monday's meeting.

Alex Toothill, whose late son, William, has a memorial dedicated to him in the Bond Lane play park, said he was disappointed no one from the council had approached his family about plans to move the memorial to make way for the skate park structure.

“We have been misled and uninformed. We agree in principle with the skate park but we do not agree with proposals to place it in Bond Lane.”

Mr Toothill said that the council was concerned that funding options could disappear if the money was not spent in time.

“I am sure the people of Settle who have shown they are against the proposals will get behind the steering group and help raise more funds. Funding can be applied for again if the time lapses. As for land, Skipton and Ingleton have been allocated it so why not Settle? There is an identified need.

“Settle is a growing town and the council needs to look at the future. If the skate park is put in Bond Lane there is no room to add to it in years to come.”

Other people present said there had been no consultation with parents and said the town council had made up their mind that was where the skate park was going to go.

Richard Wright, headteacher of Settle Primary School said a response from parents was clear about what they thought. “Ninety per cent agreed with the idea of a skate park but were fundamentally against the idea of it being in the play area,” He said adding that the collective view was that it would not work next to a primary school.

Other residents asked why the Millennium Garden area had been discounted and were told it was because it was too close to Marshfield House, and Booths supermarket. The council did agree to look again into the legal distances from residential houses.

Council chairman Dan Balsamini said in his opinion the Bond Lane site was the wrong one and that the council should wait until after district and county councillors had met with North Yorkshire County Council.

He suggested delaying a vote on proceeding with the current plans and instead hold an extraordinary meeting once the outcome of the meeting is known.