Controversial skate park application is withdrawn to the ‘surprise’ of parish council

JPCT 070113 Phil Bowell - made an MBE for services to British Industry and the Bahrain Community. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 070113 Phil Bowell - made an MBE for services to British Industry and the Bahrain Community. Photo by Derek Martin

A controversial skate park application has been resubmitted after its withdrawal from Horsham District Council’s development meeting last week.

A band of Steyning residents known as ‘Friends of Memorial Playing Field’ (FoMPF) have withdrawn and resubmitted their planning application to build a concrete skate park in the Steyning Leisure Centre car park, but the proposed site has already received criticism from residents, school representatives and the parish council.

Steyning Parish Council chairman, Phil Bowell, said he was ‘surprised’ by the withdrawal.

“It was as much a surprise to me as it was for the parish council and anyone else,” he said.

“We had a call from Horsham District Council saying that it had been withdrawn and then we got another call to say they’d already submitted a new one.”

The resubmitted application has notably increased the installation of 15 car park spaces to 20 and relocated them to the north of the car park.

“I don’t know why they’ve done that, people don’t need more spaces there,” Mr Bowell added.

In a letter of objection seen on Horsham District Council’s public planning portal, Luke Talbot of Steyning Primary School wrote there will be an ‘impact on the teaching and learning of the students at the school’ and ‘the noise from the park will make it impossible for students to hear.’

Another letter of objection from Mr and Mrs Clarke of Horsham Road wrote that the narrow pavement is ‘unsuitable to provide safe access for youngsters.’

The Steyning Leisure Centre car park site was suggested by FoMPF as an alternative to Steyning Parish Council’s application to build the skate facility at the town’s Memorial Playing Field, but was met with great opposition.

The original application had been recommended for refusal by the planning officer. The officer’s report stated that the 15 additional car park spaces will ‘result in the unjustified loss of trees’ and has not demonstrated that it will ‘not have an adverse impact upon the amenities of neighbouring occupiers.’