Skaters in Kingsbridge are one step closer to getting a new £250,000 park after members of South Hams Council green-lit a project to replace the town’s unloved and little-used quayside ramps.

Members of the development control committee met last Wednesday and decided to award themselves a ’certificate of lawfulness’ to remove the existing skate park at the Quay and replace it with a new and slightly larger concrete skatepark.

The council owns the land and is also the applicant for the new park, but the certificate confirms that a skate park is a permitted and lawful use for the land. Site meetings and more detailed discussions will take place before the new park is built.

Cllr Jacqi Hodgson (Green, Dartington and Staverton) said: “It is really important that we provide sporting facilities for young people.

“You hear a lot of bad press about young people, but a lot of the time it is because we don’t provide adequate facilities. Something like this could really help meet some of those needs.”

But a number of councillors, including Cllr Hodgson, expressed concerns over the loss of trees if it goes ahead. Council leader Julian Brazil (Lib Dem, Stokenham) has pledged to attend a site meeting in Kingsbridge to discuss the issue.

Cllr Lee Bonham (Lib Dem, Loddiswell and Aveton Gifford) urged members to look at the proposal in more detail before giving it the go-ahead.

He said: “I support the skate park, but there are a number of wider issues. It is in a really critical and sensitive location, and my feeling is that this should be a full planning application.

“We definitely need to be supporting facilities for young people, and this is the third attempt at getting a skate park in Kingsbridge. We need a skate park in the right place, developed in the right way so it is well used and the money we invest – close to £250,000 – is money well spent.

“There has been a lot of support for this, but there are people who really value these trees and the screening they provide. The sports centre would be a massive eyesore if these trees were taken down.

“I’m not arguing against facilities for young people, but the wider factors need to be taken into account.”

Officers explained that members were voting on the lawfulness of the project, and not on its planning merits. Committee chairman Cllr Mark Long (Independent, Salcombe and Thurlestone) said: “We will continue these discussions, I’m sure.”