Letter: Objection to site

I REFER to the article in the February 16 edition when it was stated that the consensus of opinion is in favour of the siting of a skateboard park in Steyning’s Memorial Playing Field. This is not the case and is where the parish council has misled the public.

The so-called public opinion that claims ‘in favour’ of the Memorial Playing Field as a site for the skateboard park, originated from a public meeting called by the parish council on January 28. This meeting was a nonsense and was heavily one-sided to push this plan through without proper consultation.

Parents and grandparents were clearly primed and the rest of Steyning residents were only notified by leaflet just two weeks before, giving no time for research to assess this project.

espite the council claiming significant public support for this plan, the public attendance at a recent full parish council meeting, held on February 12, showed almost unanimous objection to the present plan.

As with the cutting down of the sycamore tree last year, the parish council has demonstrated once again that it has no time for a democratic and transparent process.

When there is such a controversial issue, and the skateboard park would be top of the list, there must be equal representation for both sides, whether for or against. This was not the case here.

bjectors are not against a skateboard park in the Steyning area at all. There is a great community of well behaved and respectful children who would value such an exciting facility. But the siting of a skateboard park must be decided by the community as a whole and this has just not been done. We do not need a council in Steyning that ignores the democratic process and acts as a law unto itself.

We must have a democratic and transparent process that will consult with all sides of the issues and not one that acts in a dictatorial way, railroading through the plans as it sees fit.

The memorial playing field may well be the best site, but let it be decided by the community as a whole and not by a show of hands at a contrived and heavily weighted public meeting.

JOHN CATCHPOLE

South Ash, Steyning