Residents’ group take legal action over proposed seafront skate park

Lawyers who have lodged a judicial review into a skate park decision by Swansea Council claimed that objectors’ views had not been considered.

The action is being taken on behalf of seven Mumbles Road residents who opposed the siting of a new skate park by the seafront at Llwynderw, where the current mini ramp is located.

Wales Online has previously reported that a judicial review has been launched, but it has now seen a letter which summarises the complainants’ legal case.

The letter by legal firm Acuity Law said that one of the complainants, Mark Bailey, had offered to maintain and enhance the land at Llwynderw.

It claimed that the council did not respond to his proposal, which it said would have resulted in more wild flowers and public seating, plus a sum of money to relocate the mini ramp to an un-identified site which was closer to toilets and parking facilities.

Swansea Council is aware of the letter and court documents, which it is studying.

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If the High Court accepts the case, it will decide whether the decision by the council to hand over the Llwynderw site to Mumbles Community Council for the new skate park was lawful.

The letter said that in May 2019 Swansea Council invited expressions of interest in the Llwynderw site – part of a wider appraisal of council-owned sites on the seafront – and that the following month Mr Bailey submitted his proposal.

Around that time, said the letter, the community council submitted a pre-application enquiry for the skate park – followed by a full planning application four months later.

Acuity Law said that in January 2020, Swansea Council’s cabinet decided that any development at Llwynderw would require further consideration and due diligence.

The following month the council’s planning committee approved the skate park application by one vote.

The mini ramp at Llwynderw - the area earmarked for a new skate park
The mini ramp at Llwynderw – the area earmarked for a new skate park
(Image: Copyright Unknown)

Then, in July 2020, the letter said the council published a report assessing other potential skate park sites in the Mumbles Community Council area, which concluded that land by the Blackpill Lido and at Underhill Park, Mumbles, also warranted further investigation.

That further investigation of the merits of the two sites, plus Llwynderw, was done by experts commissioned by the community council, who concluded that Llwnderw was the most appropriate site, partly because it had the necessary planning consent. The experts did acknowledge that the land by Blackpill Lido was closer to toilets, parking and refreshments.

Swansea’s cabinet then had to decide whether to transfer the Llwynderw site to the community council. It agreed to do so in January this year. The complainants alleged that this decision was unlawful because cabinet took into account an “irrelevant consideration” – namely the existing planning consent. Their case claimed this consent showed the Llwynderw site was suitable, not that it was the best.

The judicial review also alleged that Swansea Council hadn’t followed its community asset transfer policy, and that it hadn’t considered objections to the proposed transfer.

There has been a lot of support for a Mumbles Community Council-funded skate park throughout the process, but also persistent concerns among some about Llwynderw due to its proximity to Mumbles Road and the seafront promenade, and the site’s lack of toilets and parking.

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A council spokesman said the legal action was “a disappointing response to a proposed community project that has the potential to benefit and support the well-being of many young people in Swansea”.

He said the need and support for such a skate park had been clearly demonstrated, and added: “We are studying the contents of the court documents and will respond in due course. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Mumbles Community Council chairman Martin O’Neill said: “We are aware of the situation and are monitoring it, but ultimately it’s out of our hands.”

WalesOnline – Swansea