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Kids need safe playgrounds and skateparks
(Posted 9/12/2002)

Kids 'need more safe places to go'

Sep 12 2002

By Richard Crowe

A CROWN Wood grandmother wants to rally residents in an attempt to get the borough council to do more to provide safe leisure facilities for children.

Jenny Seymour believes parents should not be forced to curtail the freedom of their kids despite a summer which saw the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Crown Wood.

Jenny, 53, of Dalcross, also believes a lack of decent leisure facilities leads to boredom among children, provoking petty crime and dis-order.

She told the Bracknell News: "As a grandmother I've seen how bored kids get, especially those aged 10-15 and particularly during school holidays.

"Bracknell seems to lack a decent place where they can congregate without causing trouble. Look at the old skateboard park at Long Hill. Because it's so far out, unsupervised and surrounded by undergrowth it would be a prime spot for abductors, making it understandable why so many parents don't like their kids going there.

"Skateboarding seems to be a popular hobby among kids and relatively cheap, so why can't someone open a covered skatepark, maybe at Bracknell Sports Centre? Even if kids were charged a small fee to use it, this could bring in a small revenue."

Despite the sad events of the last few weeks she does not believe parents should be forced to wrap their children in cotton wool.

"It's been a horrid summer for children with the Holly and Jessica tragedy and the horrific rape of the 12-year-old girl, but we can't get to the point where children's freedom is completely restricted," she said.

Jenny has written to Bracknell entrepreneur John Nike asking whether he would donate money towards new facilities and is awaiting a reply. She advises parents with similar concerns to write to Mark Devon, head of recreation and amenities at Bracknell Forest Borough Council.

Phil Dodds, manager of Bracknell Sport and Leisure Centre, was dubious about plans for a skatepark and said: "If one was opened in the future how many kids would use it? Even if a small fee was charged we'd still have to pay someone to supervise it."

A council spokesman confirmed there were no plans to build a covered skateboard ramp at Bracknell Sport and Leisure Centre.

This article was originally found at 0200berkshireheadlines/page.cfm?objectid=12193147 &method=full&siteid=50102

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