Thank you to everyone who took part in July and August’s consultation about the proposal for a pump track. The results have been considered and the Parish Council has set out its response and next steps below.
Pump Track Consultation: Response from Thornley Parish
There were 96 responses, mainly positive. Asked if they supported the pump track, results were as follows:
- Yes 87
- No 3
- Maybe 6
There were also 12 positive comments in response to our Facebook post.
The Parish Council replies as follows to the various concerns and suggestions raised:
- Queries about suitable age range: the chosen contractors have said their tarmac tracks are the most inclusive in our sector and have proven to give the best of user engagement for all ages and abilities.
- Anti-social behaviour, vandalism and safety: the Parish Council has spoken with the chosen contractors and with other parish councils who have installed pump tracks. The experiences of others show that this has not been significant and is manageable. There is an expectation that the safety of children and young people will be managed in the appropriate way by their parent/guardian.
- Lighting: we don’t intend to light the area. Daylight hours should provide ample opportunity for people to use the track and there’s no need for overnight or late night use. Signage will be present.
- Quad bikes and similar vehicles: our contractor said this does not become a problem as due to the technical nature of the track, the motorised vehicles may attend once but then not come back as they often struggle to navigate the track.
- Cameras and fencing: fencing is not recommended, from others’ experiences, as it poses a health and safety risk to users. The Parish Council does not intend to cover the pump track area with cameras. This will all be kept under review.
- Parking and ambulance access: this track is for bikes and scooters and therefore we expect most people to arrive on their bike or scooter. We do not intend to provide parking and will respectfully request that people do not drive to the site. We believe access for emergency vehicles is not a great concern. This will be considered and form part of the risk assessment for the site.
- Concerns that the pump track wouldn’t be used: the consultation shows that people would welcome this facility.
- Rubbish and litter: people will be expected to use the litter bins provided or to take their litter home. In case not everyone does so, there will be regular and frequent inspections by Parish Council staff to ensure the area is litter free.
- Funding: the Parish Council has reserves to use towards the track and will be responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the track and the site each year.
- Access to the Library allotment site: there are no plans to change anything with regard to allotment tenants. During construction contractors will access the site through the gate.
- Seating: will be considered following completion.
- Toilets: the Parish Council doesn’t provide toilets at its other play areas. It is fairly common that there are not toilets near to a track or play park and people will need to manage their visits appropriately.
- Potential of existing land contamination: our contractor has years of experience installing such tracks. There would be no deep excavations. This grass and top soil would be reused in the landscaping around the track to keep all the natural seed banks and wild flowers that are native to the area in place.
- Surveys: no particular surveys were recommended by Planning Officers. The Parish Council would follow the requirements of Durham County Council planning department.
- Effects on wildlife: our contractor who has years of experience has assured us they would always try to have little or no impact of the surrounding wildlife.
- Pollution: our contractor believes there would be no risk of ground pollution or drainage into a local water course due to the nature of the facility.
- Other locations suggested: the Parish Council has considered other areas across the village but believes for this kind of track, this is the most suitable location.
- Training and separate tracks: our contractors will invite young people to be involved in the final design. An opening event will be arranged with the support of the contractors when completed.
- Football or park facilities and training: the Parish Council provides a football field for teams to hire at Welfare Park. There is an informal field next to the Village Centre for use by all ages in the community. There are three play areas in Thornley, with Bow Street having a basketball hoop.
- Access through woodland: the Parish Council is working to improve its woodland and access through it, and encourages and supports other organisations to do the same with land managed by them.
What are the next steps? The Parish Council will continue to work on the proposals for the pump track and submit a planning application. If you have any further questions or comments please contact the Parish Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.