Row over skate park plans on 'haven' for those with mobility issues

Residents near Gordon Park in Ellon say plans for a new BMX and skate park facility could lead to 'flooding and vandalism' as they urged the council to reject proposals.

Ellon neighbours furious after skate park plans to replace ‘haven’ for those with mobility issues tabled LDRS

Neighbours of Ellon’s Gordon Park have criticised plans to build a new facility for skateboarders, cyclists and BMX riders on the other side of their garden fence.

Park Terrace residents say they believe the new 650-yard-long wheel park proposed for the site should be located elsewhere in the town.

Their biggest concerns include the lack of toilets, flooding, parking and potential vandalism.

They also believe the group behind the project didn’t do enough to make residents aware of the proposals.

Councillors approved Ellon Wheel Park Group’s community asset transfer (CAT) for the lower Gordon Park last month.

But the planning application for the new facility is currently awaiting determination.

The CAT will see the park leased to the group for just £1 per month for the next 25 years.

It is believed just 11 houses on one side of the street they received letters from Aberdeenshire Council notifying them about the planning application.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There’s been no local consultation at all, the first we knew about it was when they were applying for planning permission.

“You would be surprised how many people in Ellon don’t even know this is going on.

“Unless you are on Facebook you don’t know about it. People are still finding out about it now, that is wrong.

“A lot of the support for it has come from people all over the UK that don’t even know Ellon whereas all of the objections to it being in Gordon Park have come from people who know this area.”

They added: “If this gets put into a cycle park it’s turning a multi-use space into a single-use space for a very minor group of people.

“We’re suffering a biodiversity crisis, pollinator numbers are falling away and they are going to take a piece of grass that is buzzing with bees, dig all that up and replace it with concrete.”

The residents all agree that the “ideal” location for the all-in-one wheel park would be next to Ellon Academy or up by BrewDog.

Jane Forrest said Gordon Park was an “absolute haven” for those with mobility issues.

She said: “I’ve just been sitting in the park for a while and past me went people with prams, there was a chap on a mobility scooter and someone with crutches.

“There is nowhere else in Ellon so local and central that people with disabilities can go for walk for fresh air without encountering steps or traffic, it’s an absolute haven for people like that.”

Jane also said the park is popular with youngsters from the nearby Ellon Primary School and nursery.

But there are worries the new facility will be a target for trouble.

Another resident said: “Ellon’s not bad for vandalism. The vast majority of the kids are lovely but there are the few odd ones and they will vandalise it.

“When the group don’t have an event on, if there is any trouble there who is going to deal with that?”

The Friends of Gordon Park group has objected to the wheel park plan.

One of its members said: “This is not for the local people, these people aren’t going to be cycling here they will be driving and there’s no parking.

“If they were to cycle to the park that path is a way to get from one end of Ellon to the other.

“That’s going to be impassable on foot if it is being used heavily by cyclists.

“We would no longer be able to walk along Gordon Park or along the river to Aldi to do our shopping, it would be too dangerous.”

They also raised concerns about visitors clogging their street with cars.

Another member said: “Ythanvale doesn’t have parking for its visitors and a lot of the residents get relatives visiting them at the weekend.

“We see ambulances frequently and when they are around it’s chaos.”

She also said the fire at Ythanvale back in 2019 caused “mayhem” on the surrounding streets.

Charlie Forrest added: “We can only park on one side of the road and our bin lorry can’t come down the street because it is so narrow.”

Ellon Wheel Park Group chairman Colin Allanach responded to the concerns.

He said that public toilets are a six-minute walk away and a recent parking survey carried out by the council found 51 spare parking spaces within 300m of the park.

Mr Allanach said: “The group consulted with local police and they have been supportive and see this as a project which can give local young people an opportunity for a positive experience rather than more destructive activities.

“These points were all discussed in the community asset transfer meeting where councillors agreed that the park would be a good addition to Ellon and that Gordon Park was the best available location.”

Addressing the consultation concerns he said an initial survey attracted more than 800 responses and council led consultations for the community asset transfer and planning application have been held.

He added: “As with all planning applications, notification was in the local press, displayed on the Aberdeenshire Council website and there was notification placed at Gordon Park.

“Residents within a certain distance of any proposed planning application are also informed directly by the council.

“The notification was highlighted by councillor Isobel Davidson on her Facebook page as well as other Ellon Facebook pages to make people aware they could make representations to the council.

“The application was discussed by Ellon Community Council and picked up by another group on Facebook who put a leaflet round some households in Ellon and further afield.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code