Southwater skate park must not become a ‘money pit’

JPCT 021012 Southwater skate park . Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 021012 Southwater skate park . Photo by Derek Martin

Southwater Skate Park was supported by parish councillors unless it becomes a ‘money pit’ as its future was debated last Wednesday.

The facility, in Southwater Country Park, was vandalised in early September with Southwater Parish Council picking up a £4,000 bill for repairs for a broken hand board on one of the wooden ramps.

All members spoke of the importance of the skate park as a facility for the village, but since the structure had been the subject of numerous cases of vandalism, it was suggested that rebuilding it in concrete may be the best long-term solution.

The skate park is currently fenced off and contractors are expected to begin fixing the damage this week.

Pauline Flores-Moore, vice chairman of the council, said: “I think we need to think about it becoming a money pit. We have to look at the future. We do not want it closed down. We should start looking at Horsham, Worthing and Crawley.

“I think we are going to have to look at something more solid. We have had it vandalised lots. It’s used by lots of people.

“We can’t keep pouring money into it.”

Kieran Diamond added: “Although it might be nice to have concrete it might not be financially viable.”

Jenny Nagy, deputy clerk at Southwater Parish Council, said they had committed around £10,500 to repairs, money which chairman Peter Buckley said was from grants and funding, but any future repairs might have to be paid from the council’s budget.

Mr Buckley said a new skate park could be included in a Neighbourhood Plan, which would set out what community facilities and benefits villagers would want to see provided if housing development went ahead.

Graham Watkins raised concerns about the condition of some of the timber and it was agreed that he and Geoff Cole would inspect the site with the parish council’s contractor.

Mr Buckley said: “If there are more costs maybe we should wait until we have the full facts.”

Mrs Flores-Moore added: “We have got to look at the future as well. We can’t keep spending money on it.”

Mr Cole added: “If we can get two/three/four years life, then we could get it replaced.”

Southwater’s community safety partnership is offering a £500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the people responsible for the criminal damage.

Anyone with information can call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 0722 of 04/09.