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Halt to skateboard action in Station Square that poses ‘a health and safety risk to the public‘

Skateboarding Images: Danielle Murphy

There has been widespread anger in the the North Coast community after the local council without warning removed a number of ramps and skating structures in the area of Station Square in Portrush, this morning (Thursday 25 August).

For a number of years now urban sports enthusiasts have been calling for a skatepark in the North Antrim town, and eventually took to creating their own space a number of structures which have been widely used by all ages, particularly over the last months.

However, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, advised by the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive, have ‘called a day’ on the action in the centre of Portrush stating it posed ‘a health and safety risk to the public.’

Council staff moved in early this morning and removed the skating structures, loading them onto the back of a lorry.

Aaron Chambers, who says he has skateboarded in Portrush for over 20 years, took to social media to share his frustration at the council’s actions saying that if council had communicated with the skaters, they themselves would have facilitated the removal of the ramps.

He commented: “Skateboarding is my community. Without warning… the council could have given us the heads-up, we could have removed the ramps ourselves, but they came in and just lifted everything.

“We have a younger generation that we are bringing through; they are starting to feel how amazing skateboarding is, and in one blow you’ve just dished out a massive blow to everyone.”

Another commenter on social media, Gary Hassin, said: “The fun police, aka Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, struck again this morning, removing all the kid’s ramps from Station Square. Give the kids back their ramps!’

Local group ‘Causeway Association of Urban Sports’ (CAUS) also weighed-in on the council’s actions:

‘How disgraceful - constant daily use, free for kids, ruined. We will do everything we can to try and find where they have been dumped.’

In a statement issued later on Thursday, a spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said:

“The Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive visited Portrush on Tuesday and noted the skateboarding structures present in Station Square.

“The HSENI subsequently contacted Council's H&S team to confirm that the skateboarding structures at Station Square Portrush pose a health and safety risk to the public. On both the HSENI and Council's H&S Team's advice, the temporary structures that were erected in Station Square were removed yesterday (Wednesday) and are currently stored in the Council's Depot.

“Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has a statutory duty to ensure that there is no potential for public harm on our lands, as Station Square exists for use by all and is a busy public area, especially at this time of the tourism season.

“Council is focused upon the completion of the Portrush Recreation Grounds Scheme in October which will include facilities and space for urban sports to be conducted in a safe environment.”

Love Ballymena understands a member of the public retrieved the skateboarding structures from council premises this afternoon and returned them to the group of skateboarders.


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