Parkour crackdown eased after being granted sport status

A crackdown on Parkour in Horsham town centre has been eased following a decision to grant the activity sport status.

The UK became the first country to officially recognise Parkour/Freerunning as a sport, after the Home Country Sports Councils approved an application for recognition.

The decision was announced earlier this month by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, which also saw Parkour UK made National Governing Body of the sport.

Horsham District Council banned Freerunning in public spaces in the town centre after approving a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in September last year.

The order also covers anti-social drinking of alcohol, anti-social use of vehicles and horse-drawn vehicles, control of dogs, and dog fouling across the district.

However the council said it was looking at ‘revising the wording’ of the order so it no longer prohibited Freerunning but still clamped down on antisocial behaviour.

A council spokesman said: “Horsham District Council has been working closely with Parkour UK and Sussex Police since November 2016 regarding Parkour/Freerunning issues in Horsham, in order to clarify what Parkour/Freerunning is, and ensure it is separated and disassociated with any other sports/activities or any potential inappropriate, anti-social and/or criminal behaviour.

“In addition, we are looking to ensure that local practitioners can participate in the sport, safely, appropriately, respectfully and freely in line with Parkour UK guidelines.

“As a result the wording in the proposed Public Space Protection Order is being revised to ensure that it does not prohibit Parkour/Freerunning, but appropriately reflects and prohibits the specific inappropriate, illegal and/or anti-social behaviours that have been experienced locally in Horsham.

“It has never been our intention to criminalise the sport for people doing the sport in the right way.”

Eugene Minogue, chief executive of Parkour UK, said: “Parkour UK & Horsham council are continuing to work together on developing Parkour/Freerunning locally for schools, which will be delivered in-line with our Association for Physical Education (afPE) guidelines on introducing Parkour/Freerunning in to schools.”

She added the organisation was working with the council on a possible development of a Parkour facility, which is being considered as part of council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

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