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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Skateboarders and BMX bikers are not facilities managers’ best friends. I began to wonder how extensive the problem had become when I listened to the exhausted rantings of a facilities manager running a prestige building. Local skateboarders had found the frontage to the building an ideal playground, providing plenty of dips and curves, jumps and drops. Most of these tricks involved the use of expensive paving stones and benches that were not surviving the punishment. On further investigation of newspaper reports in the UK it became evident to me what an epidemic this problem had become. In Guernsey (BBC News Online, 2004), the chief property manager of St James Concert Hall despaired over a bill of thousands of pounds to repair damage to the edges of Portland stone kerbing in the front of the building. In East Sussex (BBC News Online, 2003a), the problems of seafront promenade business owners were reported with one shop owner saying “damage is caused basically by bikers using the grinders on their bikes to grind the edges down. Then they bring their bikes up and smash down on the edging stones”. He said he spent more than one hour every day clearing up after skateboarders.
In Liverpool (BBC News Online, 2003b) the City Council has got tough with skateboarders with two skateboarders facing £1,000 fines after skating on historical monuments. The teenagers are being prosecuted under a bylaw in the city centre that was introduced to protect some Grade 1 Listed buildings. Back in 2002 Plymouth (BBC News Online, 2002) skateboarders organised a 26-mile fund raising course to raise money for repairs to damage caused by other skaters. The communities manager for Plymouth City Council said that “this is a way of showing that not all skaters are inconsiderate”.
So from the evidence of this UK trawl of newspaper stories the problem is clearly an extensive one. Is it an international problem and what is the solution? The editor would welcome your thoughts – perhaps we need to research this problem!
BBC News Online (2002), “Skateboarders fix war memorial”, 19 September
BBC News Online (2003a), “Café owner’s skater misery”, 5 October
BBC News Online (2003b), “Skateboarders face fines”, 7 August
BBC News Online (2004), “Skaters cause St James damage”, 9 March