CONTROVERSIAL plans to install a pump track in Worcester’s Battenhall Park have been greenlit despite council officers calling for a deferment to explore other options.
This followed a heated debate at Monday’s meeting of the Place and Economic Development Committee.
In the meeting, some raised concerns about the potential rise in anti-social behaviour while others accused them of nimbyism and claimed the needs of young people were being ignored.
A consultation, which had 580 respondents, saw 65.1 per cent say the proposed location was the right place for the track.
However, claims were made in Monday’s meeting expressing concerns that people were able to submit more than one response in the consultation.
A resident who lives near the park said while the concept of the facility was fabulous, there were concerns with the ‘deep-rooted issues’ with the site.
These included the risk of flooding, the proximity of houses, the loss of ‘valued community green space’, litter, anti-social behaviour, drug issues, lack of emergency access and disturbance to wildlife.
Rob Collier, from Bike Worcester, urged councillors to build the track in Battenhall Park, saying he was delighted with the city council’s vision for the city but felt it was falling at the final hurdle.
He added: “It is very hard for us to scrutinise the extent to which the debate has been disproportionately influenced by overzealous dog walkers or people talking about earthworms.”
A Battenhall resident said: “A pump track survey my 12-year-old son wasn’t allowed to complete was shared online on channels he can’t access and on posters in a park where he feels unwelcome.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Jessie Jagger proposed a later-approved amendment to the original recommendation, urging the committee to approve the pump track at Battenhall Park.
This was to be done on the condition officers work with those living closest to address the concerns and investigate other locations for a potential second track.
Green councillor Coun Tom Piotrowski backed a deferment and questioned why councillors were happy to progress with something which clearly needed more work in its consultation.
Coun Jabba Riaz (Labour) said the location had been deemed suitable by previous councillors and warned there was a direct link between anti-social behaviour and lack of facilities.
Conservative group leader Coun James Stanley said while he acknowledged none of the proposed locations were perfect, the pump track would be of enormous value for young people and backed the mooted one in Battenhall Park.
Officers now have until June to explore other potential locations for a pump track.