AN IRATE Highworth resident criticised the council for not consulting people about a planned skate park - then learned that a consultation would be held.

David Parkinson said: "Do you think it's acceptable for the council to have acted on these plans without first informing affected persons who only discovered this as a result of reading one article in the Adver?"

Coun Nick Gardiner said: "It was in the Advertiser at least three times as I recall."

Mr Parkinson replied: "Well I don't read it really, I was just told it was in there."

The volunteers in the skate park committee worked on the plans before Highworth Town Council applied for a certificate of lawfulness to build on the lower recreational field near Swindon Road, which is owned by the council.

Clerk David Lane said: "The committee hadn't got a full scheme to take to people until now so there was no consultation.

"It's a recreational area and this is recreational equipment. That is why it's not a planning application. It's a perfectly legitimate thing to do on leisure land. As the land is leased to us, there should be some kind of consultation, perhaps in September. If the committee is going to come to us for any money, that will be a condition."

"We don't normally discuss certificates of lawfulness. This was put into the agenda days ago, long before you wrote, because I believed that as it's being done on our land, it's important that we are seen to be talking about it.

"There's no great big conspiracy to hide things from people on our part. I think the skateboarders haven't been in a position to have a consultation yet because their plans are only just coming to fruition and they haven't even got the finances to do it yet."

Councillors agreed to leave the decision on the certificate with planning officers but emphasised the need for a consultation.

Coun Richard Williams said: "All our meetings are public meetings, all our meetings are minuted and all those meetings are published for the public to read. Therefore, at any time in the last two-and-a-half years, anybody who was interested in anything in Highworth could have read those minutes and had a view on anything in it."

Mr Parkinson said: "Can I respond to that?"

Mr Williams said: "No."

Mr Parkinson said: "Unbelievable."