Annual Ashfield festival will still go ahead despite skate park disruption fears

Underwood Community Centre, where the Underwood Festival is due to take place.
Underwood Community Centre, where the Underwood Festival is due to take place.

An annual community festival will still go ahead this year despite fears that the village's new skate park could cause it to be cancelled.

Concern was raised by Underwood Festival organisers that their 20th annual event on July 6 could be at risk due to scheduled plans on Friezland Recreational Ground, with fears that it would either have to find a new venue or not take place at all.

The proposed skate park plans.

The proposed skate park plans.

Work is due to start at the park on June 24, however organisers feared that the location of the skate park could stop festival vehicles from being able to access the grounds - and even called for work to be delayed until after the festival on July 8.

Festival vehicles usually access the ground via the Underwood Community Centre car park on Church Street, but construction on the skate park would mean a "tight turning circle" and lorries being forced to drive on wet or sodden grounds.

This led to calls for the skate park to be moved five metres away from the centre in order to facilitate the festival trucks, stalls and stage.

READ MORE: Ashfield skate park plans 'could put annual festival at risk'

However, at an extraordinary meeting of Selston Parish Council on June 7, parish councillors and event organisers came to an agreement which means both the building work and the festival will take place as planned.

Lead festival organiser Paul Lake gave a presentation to councillors where he put forward plans to find a "common solution" to the issue.

He said: "I can't see why we can't work together to find a common solution and act in the best interests of residents in Underwood.

"It's important that we set a good example to members of the public and act on their behalf, and there is no way that both the festival and the construction work can't happen at the same time.

"Even if it takes a lot of work I am willing to organise the festival around the skate park work and make sure both go ahead as planned."

Councillor David Martin, district and parish member for Underwood, put forward a motion that the skate park plans were both moved and delayed until after the festival took place.

This was rejected by the parish council due to agreements with constructors about its start date, leading to a debate about creating a temporary access point for the festival.

It was agreed by members that a temporary entrance to the grounds will be created on Church Lane in time for the festival, which would allow vehicles to access the grounds without using the car park and being hindered by a "tight turn".

This was passed unanimously by the parish councillors.

Councillor Dawn Justice, vice-chairman of Selston Parish Council, said: "I'm glad we have come to a solution that means both the festival and the skate park can go ahead as planned.

"I would like to thank Paul for coming in and speaking to us in such a sensible and honest manner. He has done a marvellous job and worked really hard to make this happen.

"In future we would like to be involved in planning the festival and work with organisers and the community."