A MYSTERIOUS leaflet claiming to advertise a public meeting about a contentious skate park near Mumbles has caused confusion and distress.
The leaflet was circulated around the West Cross area under a banner “urgent community news”, and called on people to attend a “public meeting” at the West Cross Inn at 6.30pm on December 2.
Mumbles Community Council has submitted a planning application to Swansea Council for a £300,000 skate park to replace the current half-pipe off Mumbles Road, West Cross.
The leaflet appeared to support the idea of a new skate park but objected to the proposed location.
It urged people to submit their views to Swansea Council by December 4 – but there was no indication who the publisher was.
Many people turned up to the pub, but the landlady said a series of online messages during the day had left her and staff feeling intimidated.
Therefore no meeting took place but some people stayed for a drink and shared their views on the skate park proposal.
Among those who remained were some members of the Foreshore Improvement Group, which had planned to hold a private meeting to come to a formal view about the skate park.
If given planning approval, the scheme would provide a state-of-the-art facility for scooter and BMX riders as well as skateboarders.
Supporters say Swansea has been crying out for a new skate park for years, and that it would give young people somewhere to go and keep active for free.
Objectors are worried about the lack of on-site parking and toilets, with some fearing the facility could lead to anti-social behaviour.
Will Watson, of the Foreshore Improvement Group, said: “In my view, this needs very careful consideration by the council. A skate park is a brilliant idea, but the location has to be suitable.”
Mr Watson said the group wanted to know if the skate park could be located at Underhill Park, Mumbles, where there was more space.
He said some skate parks in South West Wales had parking, unlike the one proposed at West Cross.
Mr Watson also said the facility would need to be properly supervised.
Mumbles Community Council chairwoman Carrie Townsend Jones, who did not attend the pub, said most people who used the skate park would cycle or skate there.
Those coming by car, she said, could use the car park at nearby Blackpill and then access the skate park via the prom. “The whole point of this facility is to encourage people to be active and use the prom,” she said.
Mrs Townsend Jones said discussions had been held with council officers about transport arrangements, and that a 1.2m high fence would screen the skate park from Mumbles Road to help deter anyone thinking of dropping off their children on the busy road.
The plan is to plant a hawthorne hedge, which would be trimmed at 1.2m, to supersede the fence.
The skate park would be sunk into the ground, and Mrs Townsend Jones said the fence and hedge would not block the view across the bay from Mumbles Road.
Local residents who expressed their view at the West Cross Inn included Stephen Wanhill. “I’m concerned that the disbenefits to local residents are not being dealt with in this plan,” he said. “Why don’t we position it away from residential areas?”
Mr Wanhill also felt the project would be very expensive, considering how many people would use it.
William Stuckey, also of West Cross, said he found the mystery leaflet “quite disgusting” and “propoganda”. He felt the skate park would reduce anti-social behaviour in the area and provide a better facility for youngsters, like his seven-year-old son, than the existing metal half-pipe.
Replying to Mr Stuckey, Mr Wanhill said: “The point you’re making is valid. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea. “The issue is what’s the security going to be, and the parking facilities. It needs to be open to observation, and well lit at night.”
Another resident, Jeffrey Walters, reckoned that any development along the seafront would impact on the famous stretch of coastline and potentially be the thin end of the wedge. “If we lose it, we lose it forever,” he said. “I just think it (the skate park) is in the wrong place.”
Mr Stuckey said: “I think it would be lovely. A lot of the area at the half-pipe is Tarmac. At the moment it’s a mess.”
Mr Wanhill said Swansea Council advertised several skateboard and BMX areas is in the city, including Victoria Park in Brynmill.
Mr Stuckey thought Victoria Park, where there is a small half-pipe and other obstacles, had potential as an upgraded venue.
“Victoria Park is all right, and it’s got toilets,” he said.