The polarisation of opinions in Steyning showed no sign of abatement as skate park plans were delegated for approval by the council on Tuesday.
Horsham District Council’s development control south committee delegated the decision to officers with a view to approval for the Memorial Playing Field site proposed by Steyning Parish Council.
While most of the town welcomed the new state of the art youth facility, many felt that the choice of location was wrong as it sits on the border of the South Downs National Park.
George Cockman (Ind, Steyning) brought up concerns about noise, toilet provision, if it was the correct location and whether the 8.30pm closing time could be enforced.
He said: “The degree of representation and the very strong differences of opinion in Steyning convince me beyond doubt that if we go ahead with insufficient attention to detail we will be opening the way for continuing bitter controversy which will cause deep harm in the community for a long time.”
Objections were received from 215 people about the application, with 179 comments registered in support and ten general observations.
The skate park will have a floor area of 1,200 square metres, with a variety of ramps for experts and beginners and earth bunds to partly shield the site.
Mr Cockman nursed the hope that Steyning Grammar School could be persuaded to take the skate park on their piece of land between them and the leisure centre.
However David Barling, chairman of Steyning Parish Council, said: “We have examined every piece of land in Steyning. There is no other available place, believe me when I tell you that.”
Sarah Sullivan, an objector, said that when they were originally told of the scheme, SPC said that the width would only slightly increase from the current asphalted area of 200 square metres.
Paul Campbell, another speaker, said that the park would make a grotesque contrast to the scenic beauty of the playing fields.
He added: “It’s the right project, but it’s the wrong location.”
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coltdwaltham) said: “We must not forget the children are part of the community and the Memorial Field is for them as well.”
“I do not believe there is any reason for delay. We can go on and on in fine detail, but I can’t see that we can come up with any better,” he added.
David Jenkins (Con, Chanctonbury), chairman of the committee, said that the council planning officers would look at the points Mr Cockman had raised.