Assault prompts renewed call for Keynsham skate park lighting

Published on: 07 Oct 2017

Police are appealing for information after a 19-year-old man was assaulted and robbed at the skate park in Keynsham Memorial Park by up to eight people.

During the incident at around 9.45pm on Sunday, September 17, the victim suffered a facial injury and had his skateboard and bag stolen by a group of young men all in their late teens.

The attack prompted members of Keynsham Now – the town’s youth council – to ask town councillors at their meeting two days later whether lighting would be installed at the site or if young people would face “another winter without lights”?

Skate park users launched a campaign five years ago to ask for lighting at the park, saying it would improve their safety in the evenings and handing over a petition of 300 names to Keynsham Town Council. The campaign has since been taken up by Keynsham Now.

Town councillors recently proposed installing solar lights not only at the skate park but also at the Bandstand – but a pre-planning application to Bath and North East Somerset Council has hit a stumbling block.

A “myriad of objections” from council departments including Parks, Conservation, Landscape and Ecology means the town council would need to commission a range of studies and reports to give the application the best chance of being approved.

Town clerk Dr Cheryl Scott said: “Given the objections raised by the B&NES departments of Parks, Conservation, Landscape and Ecology about the possible negative impact this lighting may or may not be perceived to have in respect of wildlife, residents, antisocial behaviour and preservation of the conservation area, the town council is now being ‘put to strict proof’ to demonstrate and evidence that the solar lighting proposal will not impact negatively on the areas specified.

“This will entail the town council having to commission a variety of specialist studies and technical reports at town council expense to ensure that, when a planning application is finally submitted, it contains enough information and professional evidence to ensure that the issues and impacts that have already been raised are either minimised or negated by the proposal and that the planning application has the best chance of being approved amidst the myriad of objections.

“The town council would like to reassure the young people of Keynsham generally and Keynsham Now Youth Council that it remains completely understanding and supportive of this initiative.

“While it recognises that the best outcome for the young people would have been to have the lighting installed ready for this winter, given the nature and level of objections received, the town council has a duty of care to all the young people to ensure it gathers the appropriate evidence so that when it does submit a planning application it has the best chance of succeeding.”

Residents living near the park have previously raised concerns about lighting over fears it could increase antisocial behaviour after dark. One resident told town councillors in 2015: “I’m concerned it would be adding more honey to the honeypot.”

  • Police are keen to hear from anyone with any information that could help their investigation into the assault on September 17. People can get in touch at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact, or call 101, quoting reference 5217212903. Alternatively,  call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

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