Call to enforce war memorial skateboard ban

pressure is on district council bosses to enforce a ban on skateboards, bikes and scooters in the new-look Strand Gardens and near the war memorial.

Town councillors this week pledged to lobby East Devon District Council to enforce the existing bye-law - following complaints by residents and traders.

There have been reports of damage caused to new seats in The Strand by skateboarders using street furniture to perform ‘tricks’.

People have also been offended at youngsters showing a lack of respect to the war memorial.

Last week, traders were irritated when skateboarders were suspected of pinning signs, with the Devon County Council logo, onto lampposts surrounding the war memorial - proclaiming ‘this is a skatepark’.

During public question-time at a full town council meeting on Monday, Jacqui Heywood, co-owner of Franklins, said people were being put off from having a drink outside in the sunshine at one of the many cafes and bars overlooking The Strand.

Her husband, Alan Heywood, later told The Journal: “I don’t want to sound like a killjoy. Most of them are smashing kids, but customers have complained. It is spoiling the ambience of the area. I am sure that �3-million was not spent just so it could be used as a play park.”

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Cllr Steve Gazzard said: “This is a real problem and we need to ask East Devon to look into it - it detracts from the area.”

Cllr Pauline Stott, also a district councillor, pledged to raise the issue at the next Exmouth Regeneration Board meeting.

Cllr Eileen Wragg said: “The Strand is owned by the district council and it is their responsibility. There is already an existing bye-law, which has been ignored. We should urge EDDC to address this as a matter of urgency.”

A district council spokesman said the bye-law - which banned roller-skating, wheels or other ‘mechanical contrivances’ - carried a maximum �500 penalty and could be enforced by the police or council officers.

“We are keen to ensure this activity stops so it does not inconvenience passers-by or cause damage to the infrastructure of the piazza.

“We would remind skateboarders that the area is not intended for their use and (we) have provided a purpose-built skate park a short distance away at Phear Park.”

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