Poll: Green light for Barking Town Square skating ban — what do you think?
- Credit: Archant
Councillors have given the green light to a byelaw banning Skateboarders from Barking Town Square in response to residents’ repeated noise and nuisance complaints.
The ban will mean a group of young people who meet up to skate in the area will be committing a criminal offence and face a fine of up to £500 if they continue to do so.
It is expected to come into effect before Christmas this year, but before it can be implemented Barking and Dagenham Council must apply for approval from the secretary of state for communities and local government.
Speaking at the council assembly meeting in Barking Town Hall on Wednesday last week, Cllr Jeanne Alexander said: “The young people have been using the place as an informal skateboarding park. This has raised many problems.
“It has made many people feel unsafe — to have one of these skateboards hurtling towards you with no brakes. If it was to hit some elderly person I’m sure it would break their limbs, which wouldn’t fix so easily.”
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The council carried out a consultation with residents in Arboretum Place in October last year.
A total of 61 per cent of the 94 individuals consulted supported the ban, with 81pc feeling that skateboarding had a negative impact on the area.
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Only one of the people consulted was a skateboarder, while 79 were residents in the area affected.
The remaining individuals either worked in the area — at Barking Learning Centre or the Town Hall — or were visiting for another reason.
Speaking to the Post last summer, skater Grant Didman said: “I respect their [residents] opinion and can understand, but there’s nowhere else for us to go — not that’s any good or safe.
“At a skate park there is always a group of kids that want to cause trouble.”
He also accepted that some skaters stayed on beyond an agreed curfew, which councillors said had forced them to continue pursuing the matter.
The byelaw, under the Local Government Act 1972, states: “No person shall skate, slide or ride on rollers, skateboards or other self propelled vehicles in such a manner as to cause danger or give reasonable grounds for annoyance to other persons.”
Legitimate or considerate use of other wheeled vehicles such as bicycles, scooters or wheelchairs would not be banned however.
Skating will be allowed at special events, such as ice-skating over the Christmas period.
Putting up the appropriate signage in the town square is expected to cost about £500.
• Do you skateboard in Barking Town Square? How do you feel about the ban? Contact Freddy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 477 3816.