MONEY could be spent refurbishing a skate park after complaints from residents skateboarders were damaging benches and railings elsewhere.

Young people are turning away from Leigh skate park, locals have said.

Residents claim benches have been damaged in public areas and police have had to be called to move on youngsters.

Skateboarders are said to be going elsewhere due to a lack of facilities in the skate park and fears over safety.

Jamie Wilson, 38, who runs the Switch Skate shop, in Elm Road, Leigh, said: “If you want to stop kids skating in the streets, you need to put the stuff theywant at the skate park. At the moment the park is on a slope and it hasn’t been thought out very well.

“There have also been some problems with people hanging around in the park for the wrong reasons, taking drugs and drinking, which puts younger children off.

“Most of the people I work with are much younger, with the eldest being about 11 or 12.

“I’ve been to LA and seen that all the dads go down with their kids and make it into a social occasion – even bringing barbecues, because they’ve created facilities for them as well. The fact they’re there also acts as a deterrent for antisocial behaviour.”

Mr Wilson added a BMX track and ball park behind the skate park were infrequently used and could be utilised to expand the skate park, which also suffered from having inadequate room.

Leigh Town Council is now looking into releasing funds to improve and possibly expand the skate park to create a more family friendly environment.

Town councillor Caroline Parker said: “Youngsters skate along the streets, kerbs and benches, which have been damaged in town, so the idea is to create a ‘street scene’ in the skate park.

“But if that happens I would recommend the area to the side of that could provide somewhere for the little ones to play too.”

The town council voted last Tuesday to defer any decision on the skate park while proposals for other projects were submitted.