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Skate park vision for Tannery Field in Canterbury branded 'lethal'

Opening a skate park at one of Canterbury's best-loved beauty spots will prove to be "lethal", opponents claim.

Those in charge of dreaming up ways of improving the city's offering believe transforming a section of Tannery Field will help create a "world-class destination for fitness and wellbeing".

A 'world class' skating park is planned for Tannery Field
A 'world class' skating park is planned for Tannery Field

Yet the custodians of the popular park do not want the bold vision to become reality, fearing the tranquillity of the green space will be ruined.

The city council previously consulted on the idea of a skate park, yet shelved the plan following overwhelming opposition.

However, just two months down the line the proposals have resurfaced in Canterbury's Tales of England masterplan - along with a raft of other aspirations for the city.

The plans involve creating a "landmark skate garden", with a trail weaving its way through Tannery Field.

The proposals have failed to impress Friends of Westgate Parks trustee Ida Linfield, who fears the skating vision will tarnish the park's allure.

The city location is a popular beauty spot
The city location is a popular beauty spot
Tannery Field
Tannery Field

"It's a ridiculous plan," the former KCC councillor said.

"Having skateboarders in there really could be lethal - the place is popular with the elderly and they could be knocked over.

"It has the potential to be one stage worse than the current e-scooters.

"This will stop people going there to walk their dogs, or elderly people going for picnics.

"It will be very detrimental and dangerous."

Ida Linfield has concerns about the skate park vision
Ida Linfield has concerns about the skate park vision

The skate course is set to be accompanied by etched concrete art showcasing the city's industrial heritage, while a number of statues are also planned to accompany the existing bull located in the park.

There has been confusion as to whether the skate park vision is part of the council's bid for £20 million of the government's Levelling Up Fund cash pot.

In an email to Ms Ifield, the local authority's environment team leader Martin Hall stated: "I can confirm there are no proposals for a skate park at Tannery Fields or neighbouring sites.

"It is not in the Levelling Up Fund bid nor in any other service's action plan."

The plan, however, is part of the Canterbury's Tales of England masterplan, and therefore could come to fruition in later years.

Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding explained: "We set up an independent board for the Tales of England project, which I chair, and that will review the variety of projects and seek permissions and funding for those.

Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding
Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding

"So while the Tales of England group wants to do something in the Tannery, we at the council haven't submitted that as part of our Levelling Up bid.

"I like the vision, I'm not sure whether it's the right place for it. It will need to be looked at and reviewed, and that's what will be done in the future.

"It's a way of creating an experience in a biodiverse environment that appeals to a younger audience."

Friends of Westgate Parks treasurer Dick Vane-Wright, who fears for the health and safety ramifications a skate park will bring, has been left disheartened by talk of change at Tannery Field.

"It's truly frustrating that we have had absolutely no communication with anyone whatsoever," he said.

"The first time we learned of a skate park plan was reading about it in [KentOnline's sister paper] the Kentish Gazette. It makes us feel foolish as we're meant to do everything we can to conserve and protect these places, yet we're just left in the dark."

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