SKATEBOARDERS are turning Southampton's £50m million Cultural Quarter into the "most expensive skate park in UK".

That is the warning from city councillor Jeremy Moulton, who has called for the introduction of fines for skateboarders who refuse to be moved on from the area, which is designed for pedestrians.

"It doesn't create the right image for the area," he said. "In total, the whole area including the culture quarter cost in excess of £50 million.

"We need to move them on or this is the most expensive skate park in the UK."

Cllr Moulton said a number of people in Freemantle ward have raised concerns about the skaters.

One complained after seeing skateboarder urinating at the entrance of the Guildhall.

Cllr Moulton believes that Southampton City Council (SCC) should hold talks with the skaters about staying out of of the square but if this fails the authority should implement a Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO), currently used in the city to stop begging, to ban people using their skateboards in the area.

People who do not comply, could then be issued fines.

However, Dexter Mathurine, who regularly skates in the area said: “There’s all these stereotypes of skateboarders but we’re real people, harmless.

"Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport.

"Our wheels are made of plastic, I’d guess cars driving through here would cause more damage than us.”

Mr Mathurine said one of the reasons the skaters were attracted to the square was that the skateboard facilities in Hoglands Park had not been updated since they had been opened.

The Cultural Quarter, was designed to be a versatile and contemporary space to showcase art shows, seasonal events, community activities and promotional exhibits.

Once completed the area will welcome an estimated 750,000 visitors a year.

"The whole point in the Cultural Quarter is to make it an attractive place for people of ages and the skate boarders jeopardise that position," said Cllr Moulton.

Cllr Moulton said his biggest concern is the damage that the skateboarders are doing to the Portland stone paving, which cost the tax payers millions.

"We cannot ignore it any more, the skate boarders need to be moved on. It is beginning to look tired and the stone is becoming damaged," he said.

The councillor suggests that the skateboarders go to the designated skate park at Hoglands Park.

"If Hoglands park isn't good enough, we should improve it rather than replacing benches that cost the taxpayer £10,000 each."

The Cultural Quarter's arts complex is expected to finish this year and will house a John Hansard Gallery art gallery, a media facility and a performance arts space.

Mr Moulton said that the council should ensure that those skating in the area should be gone by the the time the facility is complete - if not before.

"The council needs to take a firm hand in the coming months and draw the issue to a conclusion.

"They seem to have been tolerating it because the area was incomplete but when the complex is finished the skate boarders should be gone."

What do the skateboarders think?

Ben Lilof, 26, works for Size?, from Shirley said: “The park hasn’t changed, they can’t turn round to us and say that we can only use that area, I pay taxes too. Why don’t we have as much of a right to use this space as anyone else does? I can appreciate what is being said but we do this as a hobby, tourists come and take photos sometimes too.”

Jerome Reyes, 21, works at Route One skate shop, from Bitterne said: “It’s such an open space and this sport brings people together. We’re limited to where we can go and this is a great space for us.”

Iain Hyde, 17, from the city centre, been skateboarding for six months said: “It doesn’t hurt anyone and I love this sport. It’s a real thing for us, a culture really. I cycle down Hoglands Park but I don’t skate there, it’s not really suitable and there isn’t another park closer. I don’t see what we’re doing wrong here, we have a right to do what we enjoy in a public space.”