Let there be light at the town’s skate park

NBENBE120123e2, Belper skate park, the Meadows.
NBENBE120123e2, Belper skate park, the Meadows.

PERMANENT lighting at Belper’s skate park is to be switched on after more than a year of research, securing funding and planning.

A celebratory launch event featuring Extreme Wheels, karting taster sessions by Sporting Futures and free hot food has been organised to mark completion of the long-awaited installation.

It comes at the end of a period of hard work by Amber Valley Community Safety Partnership and its members in getting the lights arranged. The project has cost a total of £12,244.

Early last year, temporary lighting was provided at the Belper Meadows site in a pilot project designed to see if making night time use of the site would cut calls in the area about anti-social behaviour.

Complaints to the police about young people using skate boards on car parks and pavements in the town, coupled with requests from young people themselves for lighting, led to the Partnership approaching Derbyshire County Council youth services to light the site every Monday night over a six-week period.

The after-dark sessions, run during February and March, were well attended and on the evenings they took place no calls about skateboard-related anti-social behaviour were made in Belper.

With the evidence of the positive effect lighting could have, the Partnership searched for funding for permanent lighting and helped Belper Town Council to submit an application to the Veolia Environmental Trust for £2,200.

Chairman of the Partnership, Cllr Chris Short, said: “The temporary lighting had a positive effect on calls in relation to anti-social and nuisance behaviour in the town last year and we are confident that the permanent installation, along with other activities such as youth provision and careers advice that will be provided at the park, will be successful.”

The town council itself has made a contribution and money has also been donated to the project by Amber Valley Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council Youth Services.

The Veolia bid was successful and work started in January.

With the work now complete and a clean-up of the site having been carried out by Community Payback, an official launch has been organised.

A two-hour celebration involving a range of partners and providing fun activities, is on Tuesday, January 31, from 6pm until 8pm — weather permitting. Belper Mayor Cllr Alan Cox will also say a few words at the event. Sgt Richard Booth, Belper’s chief of police, said: “We are absolutely delighted that permanent lighting has been installed. This project has taken a lot of work and involved many organisations, and everyone in Belper should be very grateful to them all.”

If the weather is poor the launch could be hit. Keep an eye on Amber Valley Borough Council’s website, www.ambervalley.gov.uk, which will provide details if the event is called off.