Residents react to dropped Steyning skatepark

Share this article

In light of a parish council withdrawing its plan to build a skatepark facility, local residents have come forward to support and criticise councillors’ decision.

Resident Mike Kelly said that children should ‘not despair’ after news of the dropped application was revealed by the County Times last week.

“We ask our young people to have a little more patience. For young people a week is a long time but rest assured we will not let you down if there is any justice,” said Mr Kelly.

Last week, Steyning Parish Council announced in a written statement to the County Times that it must withdraw its application to build a skatepark in the town’s Memorial Playing Field due to its Green Village Status that prevents any form of development on the site.

A member of local action group Friends of the Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) submitted the Village Green Status in a bid to preserve the land.

FoMPF has openly opposed the parish council’s plan to build on the Memorial Playing Field and submitted its own application in an attempt to offer a skateboard facility at an alternative site.

However, their plan to build on Steyning Leisure Centre’s car park was labelled ‘bizarre’ and ‘undeliverable’ by Horsham District Council and refused permission earlier this year.

Mr Kelly continued: “The Friends of Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) have carried on their relentless opposition for nearly three years,

“The parish council will find it increasingly difficult to carry out normal support of the various clubs using the Memorial Playing Field.

“They will find themselves having to turn down simple requests such as the use of a bouncy castle for a child’s birthday party, or vehicular access to and from homes bordering the field to carry out repairs.”

Another resident, Trevor Cree, who wrote in support of FoMPF, criticised the parish council for referring to its members as a ‘protest group’.

Mr Cree said: “If there is any small ‘protest group’ in Steyning it is the 19 governors and the headmaster of the Steyning Grammar School who will not release a small hop, skip and a jump area of land that would enable a skatepark to be built at the Steyning Leisure Centre that was previously recommended for approval by the Horsham District Council planning department.

“Hopefully they will reconsider and thereby make a major contribution to the community. And if all else fails a ‘state of the art’ skatepark should be the very first item on the Steyning Neighbourhood Plan that is at this very moment being developed.

“It really is time to move on,” he added.

Next Monday (September 8), Steyning Parish Council will be holding its monthly full meeting. The parish has confirmed that the skatepark application withdrawal will be addressed during the meeting as one of the agenda items.

Mr Kelly said: “We call upon the loyal supporters of the Memorial Playing Field skatepark to attend the parish council meeting on Monday at 7.30pm to show their support of the council and receive a clear explanation of what has been happening over the past three years.”

The parish council’s application was due to be heard in May this year, but the district council delayed the date. In August, the parish were informed of the Village Green implication.