A millionaires’ row of luxury homes is in a bizarre noise battle with hundreds of young skateboarders who are sounding their car horns as they drive past the seafront houses.
Residents of the plush Swansea seafront strip, Mumbles Road, became the target of the local skateboarders after entering a legal challenge to block a £360,000 skate park from being built in front of their houses.
Since objecting to the plans those living on the strip – including ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ singer Bonnie Tyler, 69, and her husband – have endured a noisy protest from supporters of the skatepark who are blowing their car horns as they drive past.
The existing Llwynderw Skatepark was given planning permission to have a large expansion on the land on Swansea seafront in front of Mumbles Road, but seven of the neighbours have launched legal action to challenge the way Swansea Council approved the skater scheme.
Residents of the plush Swansea seafront strip, Mumbles Road, became the target of the local skateboarders after entering a legal challenge to block a £360,000 skate park expansion
A campaign has been launched on social media encouraging drivers to beep their horns as they drive past the luxury homes.
Police said it was ‘listening to the concerns of residents’ living with the noise nuisance day and night.
The main target of the abuse is car dealer Mark Bailey – who lives next door to Bonnie Tyler – because he has confronted some of the skateboarders.
Hugh Hitchcock, who is taking on the judicial review on behalf of those against the plans, hit out at the horn protest.
He said: ‘It is unacceptable that one of the seven applicants to this judicial review should be subjected to this appalling campaign of abuse and harassment for exercising their democratic right to challenge the unlawful decision made by Swansea council.
A campaign has been launched on social media encouraging drivers to beep their horns as they drive past the luxury homes where residents have objected the plans for the expansion
An artist’s impression of the skate park expansion proposal at Llwynderw Skatepark
‘We hope Swansea council will now recognise the distress and hurt that has been caused here and unreservedly condemn the despicable behaviour of those who have engaged in these actions.’
Jason Williams, chair of the Mumbles Skate Park Association, said: ‘I saw the beep campaign last week, I’m not sure how it came about.
‘We don’t condone it but it’s brought to the fore the strength of community feeling for the redevelopment.’
The campaign hit a peak when a video emerged of Mr Bailey confronting the skateboarders.
Mr Bailey could be heard threatening to ‘smash in the face’ of one of the skaters if he got too close to his wife while riding the ramp.
But Mr Bailey did a U-turn withdrawing his objections to expand the skatepark after seeing the video – and suffering the car horns blaring outside his home.
The existing Llwynderw Skatepark was given planning permission to have a large expansion on the land on Swansea seafront in front of Mumbles Road
Since objecting to the plans those living on the strip – including ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ singer Bonnie Tyler, 69, and her husband – have endured a noisy protest
Mr Bailey said: ‘Having taken time to reflect on the footage of the altercation that was filmed at the skate park on Wednesday evening, my wife Rhianon and I unreservedly apologise for our actions that evening.
‘I will make a point of going across and personally apologising to the skaters at the appropriate time over the coming days.’
‘Whilst it is by no means an excuse, my family and I have been subject to significant abuse over the days leading up to the incident, culminating in objects and verbal abuse being thrown at me as I tried to drive into my home.
‘This was the final straw which prompted our actions which we now bitterly regret. We were all young once and watching the video again today, I see more than a little bit of my younger self in the actions of those that I confronted.
‘I do understand why the skaters are so passionate about the skate park and, whilst I now concede on making any objection to the redevelopment at that location, I also stand by my offer to significantly invest in a state-of-the art facility elsewhere in the borough with proper facilities and parking.
‘I do hope that those involved will accept my apology when I get to speak with them.’
An online petition in support of the skatepark project has now received more than 5,700 signatures.
The campaign hit a peak when a video emerged of car dealer Mark Bailey Bailey confronting the skateboarders
After the video emerged Mr Bailey did a U-turn withdrawing his objections to expand the skatepark. Mr Bailey also apologised for his behaviour
Local skateboarder, Arthur Gravenor, 16, said: ‘It’s always a nice environment here.
‘There are always friendly people and I feel like it’s such a shame because we really want to upgrade the facilities here.’
A mini half-pipe is the only piece of equipment currently on the site of the planned skate park. The area has been popular with skateboarders for more than 20 years.
Plans for the new facility have been in discussion for about three years and were approved by Swansea council last year.
Swansea County Councillor Des Thomas, who represents the ward, said: ‘I think it’s been a little bit childish with people beeping their horns at all hours of the day. There are elderly people there and young children nearby, so it’s pointless making them suffer.
‘I would appeal to both sides to just step back a little bit and understand both people’s viewpoint and let the democratic process take its course.’
In a statement, South Wales Police Inspector Andy Harris said: ‘I want people living in the area to know that we are aware of recent issues, and we are looking into them.
‘We have listened to the concerns of residents along Mumbles Road, some of whom are being affected by inconsiderate anti-social behaviour.
‘I would encourage people to keep reporting things to us, it helps us build up an intelligence picture and, where necessary, we will take fair, reasonable and proportionate action.’