BMX PUMP TRACK: Approved for Seacroft Park by council
Leeds City Council plans to build a hard-surfaced track on land at Rein Park and Kentmere Approach, Seacroft, which could be made of “compacted crushed limestone” with a number of slopes, loops and drops.
The plans have been met with a mixture of objection and support from locals, with some fearing the site could be misused by motorbikes, and other problems with antisocial behaviour.
Speaking at a Leeds City Council plans panel meeting, a planning officer said: “It is acknowledged that a number of comments have been received in regards to potential antisocial behaviour and use of the track by illegal motorcycles and quads.
“It is considered that the nature of the track means low speed and control would be required due to the nature of the jumps, and those using motorcycles and quads are more likely to require open, unrestricted areas to gain speed.”
However, local resident Gaynor Edwards told the meeting: “The pump track is too big, it is too close to the housing, it is too niche and too male-oriented – obviously girls are welcome to use the pump track, but we all know in reality it’s probably 90 per cent boys. The trouble we have in the park already is 99 per cent from boys.
“I do not agree that quads, motorcycles and scooters couldn’t use it, because they already get on there. People now have petrol mini scooters that they make themselves – they are on the park all the time.
“What will happen is an extension of what is already happening – teens and youths will gather on there, mostly boys, there’s fighting, there’s knives, there will be more of that.
“What we want on the park is families not gangs of boys on bikes – parks should be for everybody.”
Commenting on the planning application, Coun Kayleigh Brooks (Lab) said: “I can understand the objectors’ concerns regarding the potential for antisocial behaviour, if teenagers do have more things to occupy themselves with, they don’t tend to be as naughty.
“I understand concerns around noise. Greenspace should be for everybody, including younger people.”
Coun Trish Smith (Con) added: “I like this – anything that channels youth energy gets my vote. I understand concerns around antisocial behaviour – children tend to gather when they have nothing to do.
“But if they do have something to do – something to be proud of that they can buy into, then hopefully that won’t be the case here.”
Coun Dawn Collins (Con) said: “I welcome this sort of activity for older children and teenagers. I think they tend to get missed out a lot. Children’s playgrounds are great for the toddlers and those under eight, but this is for older children and I am supportive.
“We recently had a skate park built in Horsforth – a lot of people there thought the boys would dominate, but we do have a lot of girls using it, and they can stand their own against the young blokes!”
Chair of the committee Coun Kevin Ritchie (Lab) summed up: “I would support this. I understand the concerns of the objectors in terms of antisocial behaviour, but it is incumbent on the police to deal with those issues, and there is CCTV on the site.”
Councillors unanimously voted in favour of the plans.
Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter
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