Skateboarders spotted using Council House 'like it is playground'
CONCERNS have been raised by members of the public that skateboarders have been causing damage to the £36 million refurbished Council House.
Derby Telegraph reader James Clark spotted a group of young people using the steps "like a skateboarding park or playground" on Boxing Day.
He said: "I wanted to bring this to the attention of Derby's taxpayers.
"This is in spite of the fact that a park exists for their exclusive use less than half a mile away.
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"Although the Council House only opened last week, there is already noticeable damage to its steps and lower walls."
Ranjit Banwait, deputy leader of Derby City Council and cabinet member for neighbourhoods and Streetpride, said he was open to talking to young people about the issue. He said: "We listened before that and they wanted somewhere centrally to skate. So, we provided the skatepark in Bass Recreation Ground.
"The council building is there for everyone in Derby but there has to be an understanding and a respect between us about it."
The £36 million refit of the Council House was a project which was signed off by the previous Conservative-led council and supported by the Liberal Democrats.
When Labour took over the running of the council following May's elections, the scheme was already well under way.
Big changes to the building include a new glazed entrance and an open-plan reception foyer where a team of staff meet customers and help them with their inquiries.
Reaction to the refurbished building has been mixed.
Council leader Paul Bayliss recently admitted a change of heart over the controversial project, saying the building had the "wow factor".
But Labour's councillor Ranjit Banwait said it was "ridiculous" that the refurbishment of the Council House had taken place during times of austerity and called the property a "huge embarrassment".
A spokeswoman for Derbyshire police said: "There isn't a bylaw against skateboarding but we will take action against anyone we see who is causing criminal damage.
"We advise skateboarders to use the specially designed facilities available to them in the city."