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Trick Factory skatepark loses its local asset status
BRIDPORT’S Trick Factory has been taken off a list of community assets.
In April, West Dorset District Council agreed that the indoor BMX and skate arena on the St Michael’s Trading Estate could be put on a register of buildings with community value – which gives communities the right to bid on them if they come up for sale.
Now the council has performed a U-turn after landlords Haywards requested it be taken off.
Clive Hayward, pictured below right, said: “There is a process where the register can be challenged and that is what we did because we didn’t feel that it was properly nominated and didn’t feel it should have been registered and we wished to avoid any inconvenience it might cause us at some point in the future.
“If they had felt I was incorrect then they would have left it on the register. We appealed on three of them. There was a nomination on most of the artists’ studios and on the TLC and the Scrapstore premises.”
Nothing on the estate is now on the register, he said.
The decision to take the Trick Factory off the register was taken by West Dorset District Council’s director of planning Dr David Evans.
He said although it did further the social wellbeing or social interests of the community he didn’t think it was realistic it could continue to be the main use of the building.
He said: “The owners allowed the tenant to continue to rent the same area of floor space but reduced the rent payable by 45 per cent.
“However this is not a situation that the owners say they can perpetuate. It also appears that there is a local project to enhance another skate park in Plottingham, which is supported by the town council, which does tend to suggest that the Trick Factory may be subject to additional competition for people using the facility.”
According to the Trick Factory’s Facebook page July has been the worst month in its 14-year history – taking just £60.
On Facebook Rob Ridge who runs the Trick Factory, said: “We never seem to be short of people wishing us well or pledging to do this or that or telling me what I should do to improve the place either on a fleeting visit or a Facebook message but actual physical presence or hands on help is unfortunately in limited supply these days.”
Andrew Leppard from Enterprise St Michael’s said: “It’s another entry in the ‘stranger than fiction’ catalogue in West Dorset’s District Council’s procedures, where The Trick Factory, one of the few indoor BMX and skate arenas in south west England, was designated as a valuable community asset worth preserving. Strangely, it only takes one man at the council, the director of environment, David Evans, to overturn this status and reject the supporting evidence.
“His statement that it might not be economically viable clearly illustrates his disregard for any social benefits to the local community in Bridport, the very basis for this Government Act.”
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