LETTERS: Community group can deliver exciting Prospect Plaza project

This is a copy of a letter sent by the Horncastle Skatepark Committee to councillors ahead of their meeting last Tuesday (March 9).

Following the public meeting earlier, members of the Horncastle community established a working group for the Horncastle Skatepark and recreation area project.

As shown in the meeting, there has been overwhelming support and a team has been assembled which includes members with the skill sets and enthusiasm we need to deliver this project successfully.

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We have members with a variety of skills and expertise including, but not limited to, the following areas:

• Skateboarding, BMX, Scooter and roller skating/blading,

• Project Management,

• Project delivery and commercial negotiations,

• Engineering and Construction,

• Media, Marketing and communications,

• Crowdfunding / fundraising,

• Grant applications,

• Health and wellbeing.

There has been a lot of discussion within the group which has shown there is a lot of passion and drive within the community to deliver this project effectively.

However, there is also a lot of concern with regards to the phasing proposed, the budgeted spend, the drivers and whether the original needs are being met.

In line with this, we would like to lodge an objection to the current proposal with a view to submitting a new strategy to take this initiative forward.

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As a minimum, we would like to request that the current plans be put on hold to allow the Horncastle Skatepark Committee to put forward a robust project plan.

Our proposal is that we re-establish our delivery strategy focusing on the primary ‘need’.

The consultation and subsequent data has shown a slight higher preference/requirement for a skatepark above all other suggestions.

However, it is worth noting that a large proportion of the demographic is missing, only 2% of 0-10 year were consulted. This, we feel, would represent a large portion of people who would utilise a skatepark facility based on parents’ responses within the group and the observation of scooters and bikes in the Primary school bike shed.

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Furthermore, following a recent poll undertaken through Facebook, there were over 500 votes of support with only 17 against the initiative. Therefore, with this in mind we feel the focus of this project should be to deliver a Skatepark and recreation area for the town.

Our revised strategy would include establishing a collaborative working group with Horncastle Town Council.

We would request that the allocated £50,000 be reappropriated to the plans being formulated by the working group.

This will ensure we are not looking to succeed with a fundraising challenge from a standing start and it is considered easier to attract financial support if we already have an element of funding established.

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We have already discussed allocation of tasks and roles within our group and ensure this process would be given suitable rigor and governance.

We would like to integrate a council representative into the team to ensure unity with HTC and we would of course operate a 100% transparent open book policy with regards to progress, spend and delivery.

John Whelan

Horncastle Skatepark Committee