Skatepark plans on verge of success

BSG chairman Russ Crichton, right, with committee member Bruce Skinner at the skatepark ramp
BSG chairman Russ Crichton, right, with committee member Bruce Skinner at the skatepark ramp

Councillors are on the brink of approving a deal to dispose of common good land in Banchory to pave the way for the creation of a new skatepark.

Marr Area Committee will next week decide on whether to petition the Court to allow land at Bellfield Park to be leased by the charitable Banchory Skatepark Group (BSG).

The move will be the culmination of several years of hard work by the group to create a replacement for the existing skatepark in the town, which is limited in terms of scale and the variety of skating it can offer.

BSG proposes a new facility covering an area of 0.15 hectare, including the area of the existing ramp.

Last May, the area committee approved both a 25-year lease for the group to acquire grant funding to construct a modern, fit-for-purpose skatepark and to manage the facility for the benefit of local residents and visitors who want to participate in this sport.

A public consultation this year attracted 41 participants of which 39 supported the proposal. Concerns raised were over the adverse effect on the park, noise generated from activities and the impact on other events such as Banchory Show.

But in a report to committee, infrastructure services director Stephen Archer says the issues have been addressed and recommends the formal disposal of the land and approval of the consultation responses.

He says: “It is necessary to demonstrate to the Court that the disposal or change of use would be for the benefit of the citizens of the former burgh of Banchory.

“It is considered that the benefits of the skatepark as set out and approved in the previous committee report and the outcome of the consultation demonstrate there is a reasonable prospect of persuading the court to grant a petition.”

Mr Archer also advises that although the council would have some responsibility for some day-to-day management and maintenance of the proposed skatepark, and related public indemnity issue, that is already the case in terms of the present facility.

“It is proposed that the council will only take responsibility for minor maintenance or repairs,” he explains, “and the group fundraising and commissioning the project would require to continue to fundraise, in future years, to cover major repairs or upgrades.”

He concludes that the rent for such facilities is usually nominal and there will be some legal costs involved in seeking and obtaining the common good order.