Steyning skate park appeal allowed by inspector

SH 160614 Site for proposed skate park in Steyning next to the leisure centre. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140617-114721001
SH 160614 Site for proposed skate park in Steyning next to the leisure centre. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140617-114721001

Polarising plans for a skate park at Steyning Leisure Centre have been approved on appeal.

But the landowners have reiterated their ‘complete opposition’ to the development.

Horsham District Council rejected a planning applciation for the construction of a concrete skate park last summer, but Peter Comber, chairman of the Friends of Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) appealed.

Planning inspector Jonathon Parsons has allowed the appeal.

In his report he said: “The development would not result in actual or perceived opportunities for crime or anti-social behaviour.

“Accordingly, the proposal would comply with Policy DC9 of the Horsham District Local Development Framework General Development Control Policies 2007, which amongst other matters, requires development not to cause unacceptable harm to the amenity of occupier/users of nearby property and land, and for measures to reduce any actual or perceived opportunities for crime or antisocial behaviour.”

Speaking on behalf of FoMPF, vice-chairman Paul Campbell said: “In reaching his decision, the inspector found that all the concerns voiced by objectors are unfounded.

“After eluding Steyning for a generation, there is now the opportunity for our whole community to work together to provide a skate park in the area of the town originally preferred by skaters themselves.

“It is also just over the road from the location the residents of Steyning expressed their overwhelming preference for in the Parish Council’s 2011 town survey.”

Steyning Grammar School head teacher Nick Wergan, chairman of governors Marion Gue, and chairman of its foundation trust Calum Chace issued a joint statement with Graham Olway, principal manager of planning for West Sussex County Council.

It reads: “Steyning Grammar School, its governing body, its foundation trust and West Sussex County Council reiterate their complete opposition to any skate park development at the Horsham Road site.

“The reasons for this opposition are already a matter of public record and there will be no further comment.”

Late last summer Steyning Parish Council withdrew its own planning application for a skate park on the Memorial Playing Field due to the land’s designated village green status.