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Skate Park: "Another Two Wasted Months"

The former Assistant Minister with responsibility for sport says the time being taken to register planning applications for two new skate parks makes the target of getting them built by January 2022 'look even more unlikely'.

The application to build the skate park at the Les Quennevais Sports Centre was submitted more than two months ago, with the South Hill application lodged six weeks ago.

Neither have been registered online yet.

A member of the planning department told Channel 103 earlier this week that it is still waiting for extra information before the paperwork can be uploaded. 

A government spokesperson has told us that South Hill Gardens is proving a bit more complex and more work needed to be carried out.

The ongoing wait has led parents and members of the skating community to question the reasons why and ask for updates.

Senator Steve Pallett says somebody is not doing something correctly.

"I think people have got a right to be suspicious because it's a delay in the project that we all want to see done, that the States desperately want to see done, we had a long enough debate talking about it.

"It's disappointing that we haven't seen the planning applications registered, at least the one for Les Quennevais because I was told that was ready to go!"

The States agreed to proceed with two skate park applications after a long-running debate over whether it should be South Hill or Les Quennevais.

Les Quennevais was agreed as the preferred location in January 2020, but attention turned to South Hill later in the year because of concerns over Les Quennevais being out of town.

However, there was a backlash from many people to South Hill Gardens because of heritage and safety issues.

It was eventually agreed in February 2021 that applications be lodged for both to ensure the best possible chance of at least one of them proving successful.

Senator Pallett says it would be desperately disappointing if this government doesn't build at least one new skate park before the next election.

"It's been three or four days now since the Assistant Minister for Sport (Deputy Hugh Raymond) told States members in an email that he was on it and he was going to report back. Four days down the line, still nothing.

"I think people are getting worried that there is not going to be progress on this and we're not going to meet the timelines we said we were."

Channel 103 spoke to Deputy Raymond earlier this week and he told us that he would ask for an update from officers.

It was hoped that the parks could be built by January, if planning permission was secured by the end of July.

Senator Pallett says the quicker we get into the planning process, the quicker we can find out whether there are any other issues that need resolving.

"Certainly the Les Quennevais one - I know from my time as Assistant Minister that the planning application was relatively well advanced, so you've got to wonder why it's taking so long.

"Either there were bits missing in the planning application or the planning department are dragging their heels in terms of dealing with it.

"Either way, the government needs to get their skates on and actually move this project forward."

The government has confirmed that Deputy Raymond will make no further comment at this stage.

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