AGGRESSIVE “acrobatic” skateboarding is an activity which nowadays attracts an increasing number of children and adolescents.

However, in public spaces in towns and cities across the country, this popular recreational pastime often disturbs citizens who have the misfortune to encounter subjects who engage in this sport without considering the effect their noisy pastime may have on people in general.

On account of a lack of sensibility and empathy adolescents will tend to justify their behaviour by means of egocentric reasoning and rationalisation, the defence mechanism - par excellence - of self-centred teenagers and perhaps especially those who present a lack of empathy and signs of an anti-social attitude.

With respect to the county of Somerset, skateboarding has become a problem in various towns, such as Taunton and Wellington, but it would appear that local councils and authorities fail to take action to solve the issue.

In Taunton, groups of unruly youngsters have decided that the Castle Green is the right place to meet up and practice skateboarding.

In the very heart of the town, adolescents are causing a problem in this pedestrian zone because they make a lot of noise, skateboarding and jumping up and down across the open space in front of the museum, between the Castle Hotel and the ex-Winchester Arms.

Their acrobatic tricks include leaping onto and skating along the wooden bench beneath the tree in front of the Somerset Museum, and this may occur even when people are sitting down and resting on it.

It is likely that this action will also eventually cause damage to the wooden structure of the seat.

Many pedestrians crossing the Castle Green will certainly feel irritated by their presence and by the noise, and might prefer to avoid the area entirely.

If visitors to the town or local people want to walk down into the old courtyard beside the remains of the original mediaeval castle and visit the museum or the coffee bar, would they feel at ease if they are surrounded by these skateboarders?

If people want to sit down on the bench for a few minutes, how would they feel in the presence of these careless adolescents?

Would they like to hear the constant banging and crashing of the skateboards just a few yards in front of them?

What do guests in the Castle Hotel think when they look out of the window of their room and see the nonsensical circus acts of these children?

Might they even regret having booked in at this luxury hotel in the centre of Taunton?

A local bed and breakfast solution in the suburbs might have been more appropriate and more peaceful.

In any case, it’s rather strange to note that beside the ex-Winchester Arms a clearly visible public notice installed by the Taunton Deane Borough Council states: ‘No Skateboarding’!

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A similar situation has developed in Wellington, where in an open pedestrian area in front of the former Post Office, close to the bus-stop on the northern side of the High Street, groups of skateboarders occasionally perform their circus acts, especially at the weekend.

This noisy activity is likely to disturb people working in the nearby offices, individuals waiting at the bus-stop, people who would like to visit the coffee shop just a few yards away and, in general, people who happen to be passing by.

Everyone in the vicinity can hear the loud noise of the boards crashing down on the pavement, pedestrians walking along the street will feel there is a certain risk if they get too close, and many of the people at the bus-stop will be disturbed by the situation.

From an ‘objective’ point of view the behaviour of the teenagers may be seen as anti-social and a public disturbance.

Immediate action should be taken and, hopefully, there will be a serious commitment on the part of counsellors to solve this issue as quickly as possible.

It would take five minutes to sort this problem out.

The obvious solution - in my opinion - would be to create spaces where the skateboard gangs can hang out, and then make sure only these spaces are used by the children and teenagers in question.

We can only hope that the local authorities will pay heed to our suggestion and intervene to remove these signs of modern decadence in what might be seen as the heart of Taunton.