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Mountain bike park at Chewton Bunny is turned down for near future
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a mountain bike park at Chewton Bunny will definitely not go ahead in the near future.
However, reassurances have been issued to supporters of the scheme that the concept has not been abandoned entirely.
A consultation on the South Shore Bike Park at the end of last year divided dog walkers and bikers but was halted by Christchurch council in February due to issues concerning land ownership.
Now, a report going to Wednesday’s community services committee says although the uncertainties over land ownership means it is not possible to proceed with the plans at the Bunny, due to the significant interest in the scheme, it could be resurrected for a different location in the future.
The proposal to improve the area included a mountain bike park, newly-resurfaced paths and picnic area.
A petition was signed by 200 residents objecting to the scheme with the council’s consultation receiving a total of 995 responses.
Many of those opposed agreed there needed to be a mountain bike park but in a different location.
The officer’s report to the committee said there was both strong opposition and support from a number of local residents, schools, parents and mountain bikers.
Overall, 46 per cent of people responding were opposed to the scheme with 40 per cent in favour.
People from as far as East Ayrshire in Scotland said they would visit the area if the proposal went ahead.
In the report, Matti Raudsepp, head of leisure and open spaces at Christchurch council said: “It is currently assumed that the unregistered land is owned by Naish Estate Ltd, however the deeds have not yet been located by their legal team.
“Naish Estate Ltd, have raised objections to the proposals and it is therefore considered unwise to progress consideration of the project until there is clarification on this matter.
“It is not anticipated that such clarification will materialise in the near future.”
"We'll work to improve the area"
Highcliffe resident, Brian Learmount, 77, a member of the now-disbanded Chewton Bunny Action Group, who objected to the location of the park, said: “What we found out while talking to people about the mountain bike park was there was a need for a bike park.
“While we are pleased the Bunny is out of the picture there is a need and it would be good to see it set in a more appropriate urban environment.
“I hope we can now work with the council on finding new appropriate ways to improve the Bunny.”