Byelaw could ban skateboarders from Norwich city centre

Skateboarding could be banned from parts of Norwich city centre. Skateboarding could be banned from parts of Norwich city centre.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
4:00 PM

A byelaw could be brought in to ban skateboarding in much of Norwich city centre, because of damage council bosses say skaters have caused to the war memorial and City Hall.

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Damage to Norwich War Memorial, which council bosses say has been caused by skateboarders. Picture: Steve AdamsDamage to Norwich War Memorial, which council bosses say has been caused by skateboarders. Picture: Steve Adams

If the local law is brought in, then skateboarders who continue to skate within the area it applies could be taken to court or given police cautions.

Council bosses say they are having to consider the action because of damage caused to the War Memorial Gardens and the base of the war memorial, which is a Grade II listed monument.

They say the steps outside the Gaol Hill entrance to City Hall and the plinth at the base of the clock tower in St Giles Street have also been damaged.

Officers say the damage consists of deep incisions in the stonework, with “fairly large chips” taken out of it and the edges eroded.

Proposed byelaw to ban skateboarding.Proposed byelaw to ban skateboarding.

But skateboarders have accused the council of taking too heavy-handed an approach.

The byelaw would cover a large part of the city centre. It includes the memorial gardens, Hay Hill, Gaol Hill, The Forum, Castle Meadow, London Street, Exchange Street, St Andrews Street and the gardens at Norwich Castle.

The council says it has had to go beyond the areas where damage has been caused to cover other locations where the skaters might head.

When the war memorial was revamped, the council provided a £300,000 purpose-built skate park in Eaton Park, to encourage skaters to stay away from the city centre.

But the council says some skateboarders have continued to skate on the war memorial and despite talking to them and putting up signs urging them not to skate, they still do.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “The official skatepark we had built at Eaton Park in 2010 is very well used.

“But unfortunately, there are still those who persist in skateboarding in the city centre and have shown little regard for the war memorial and its gardens, despite our efforts to address the problem in a low-key way.

“It seems especially poignant that, 100 years on from the start of the First World War, and as custodians of important heritage sites like the war memorial, that we do all we can to protect such treasured assets.”

But Sam Avery, who runs Drug Store skate shop in Pottergate and was a member of the Skatepark Consultation Group, which helped refine the design of the Eaton Park skate park, said the council was going too far.

He said: “If it was just the war memorial which the byelaw applied to, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I don’t see why they need to extend it to a bunch of other places as well.
“What’s going to happen? We’ll end up with a load of 14-year-olds getting police cautions and I don’t see what that is going to achieve. It’s heavy-handed.”

Mr Avery said that good as the Eaton Park skate park is, skaters, inline skaters and BMX riders - the people it was built for - often struggle to use it. He said young children with everything from plastic bikes to radio controlled cars play on it.

He added: “The other thing with Eaton Park, and we said this at the time, is that it quite a way out. I have previously said to the council that, if they don’t want people skating on the City Hall steps, then they should look at doing something under the Magdalen Street flyover.

“It’s just wasteland at the moment and I think it would only cost a couple of thousand pounds to put concrete and maybe some blocks down there. People could add their own stuff and it could become a community project.”

The controlling cabinet at Norwich City Council will decide at a meeting on Wednesday next week whether to recommend that the council brings in the byelaw.

If it does, it would be made under section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972 and would prohibit skateboarding in the designated area.

If the full council then agrees to the byelaw proposal it would have to be advertised for four weeks before being submitted to the Secretary of State for confirmation.

The council says it would adopt a “soft approach” to enforcement action, using its own enforcement officers and police community support officers.

Initially, people would be told they were breaking a byelaw and asked to move on. But, if people persisted, then the council would have the option of prosecution through the magistrates court.

The courts would have the power to issue anti-social behaviour orders on those convicted.

• Do you think the byelaw to stop skateboarding is a good idea? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

37 comments

  • Skating or BMXing on the War Memorial is out of order, but if anyone disagree's, let me know where there family are buriedremembered and i'll put signs up inviting the skateboarders to skate over there grave

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    pubmandave

    Friday, June 20, 2014

  • I hope the ban applies the two motorcyclists who hang around outside Next in Haymarket most Saturday's before riding through the pedestrians on Haymarket and along Gentleman's Walk! Idiots!

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    iclone-2000

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Skateboarding should be encouraged i think. But doing it and damaging property should be looked at, especially on a memorial to the war dead. But as a person from experience, these people do it in the city centre because there are people about....so they can show off. Just like boy racers going up and down yarmouth seafront. They are not interested in going to some place which is quiet where they cannot show off. Sorry, but im not interested in your skating or your pumped up cars. Go do them somewhere else and leave the places in the city left to be used for what they are designed for.

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    canaryboy71

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • It's important to remember the passion this particular competitive sport arises.Very much like surfers in search of the "perfect wave",the youngsters take the sport very seriously and certain surfaces,such as only available in certain parts of the city centre are needed for some of the more intricate moves,which is why the Eaton Park alternative is a non-starter.These guys need their own purpose-developed skateboarding area.Until that day,the Magdalen St flyover idea is worth pursuing.Shame Sir Arthur South didn't think of it.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • This is another unenforcable idea by some who have spent too much of our money on refurbishing the war memorial. They also placed a lavishly paid for marble sculpture hoping that they will not be damaged, whilst refusing to buil;d a purpose built skating facillity in the City centre. Now is the time for skateboarders and BMX riders to get their act together and campaign for a skatepark onb the council owned site next to the inner ring road in Chapelfield. Its right next to the road and hence would not be a noise nuisance. If City Hall would have contemplated this before they grudgingly spent half of the allocated money on Eaton skatepark, this story would most likely not be written.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Waste of time. Nobody is going to enforce this.

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    marty r

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Mr Mayhem needs to lay off the hyperbole. Btw, it looks like we might already have stunt car drivers in Norwich city centre. I noticed the other week another one of those metal road defences outside M&S had been totally bent out of shape again. Pretty sure it wasn't a skateboarder who did it.

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    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Sam Avery do you remember that day the council boss said to us "if we build you a skatepark, will you promise not to skate the new memorial when its done" and I said "yes of course but I cannot make that promise on behalf of people I have never met or haven't even started skating yet, let me sit in on the design meetings and I will help you to make it unskateable", do you remember his response ? he laughed like I was joking or wanted to make it amazing for skating, I said "I'm serious about this if you are ?" and he wandered off smiling like it was all a bit of fun, a joke. who's laughing now huh, no one thats who ?

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    Lewis Ross

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Where are the stunt car drivers in Norwich?, typical Norwich persons reply, mimicry, as they have no imagination or viable opinion for themselves.

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    mr mayhem

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I agree with Sam. I regularly skate around the city but me and other friends pick certain times of the day that arent 'trouble' to people. I believe that creating a further law is not right. I do how ever believe that there needs to be some ban on the war memorial for all sports NOT simply skateboarding.Me and my friends believe its disrespectful to skate the memorial but by creating a bye law you are setting an unfair image of the city and almost pointing fingers. there are already laws in place (criminal damage ect) that cover this, I believe this is just a cheap shot opion by the council and am very disappointed.

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    callumpainter95

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Thanks for the cut n paste BG. Does this make it right for the council to discriminate against youngsters enjoying harmless fun, No. This was a knee jerk reaction in the day when the ASBO was invented. Hopefully we've moved on. Get real, these youngsters are just having fun. I understand that you were just pointing this out rather that commenting. Skate boarders seem to be getting the brunt of this even though as Mr David Jewell pointed out, I doubt if they are the blame . on. Get real , these youngsters are just having fun. I understand that you were just pointing this out rather that commenting .

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    Euro

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • can not come a moment to soon, get rid of them and the BMX riders. If you want to do stunts go to the dedicated areas made stunts, give the City back to the shoppers and pedestrians.

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    Rorping

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Since 1978, the Home Office has offered local authorities a model byelaw which prohibits the use of skateboards and roller skates on footways and carriageways to the danger of other persons lawfully using the footway or carriageway. In 1990, the model byelaw was modified to make it an offence for a person using a skateboard or roller skates to cause not only danger but also nuisance or reasonable grounds for annoyance to other persons using the footway or carriageway. Our records indicate that 66 local authorities have adopted the 1978 model byelaws, and that to date one local authority has adopted the 1990 model wording. The local authorities are: (a) Authorities which have adopted the 1978 model byelaws: Adure district council Arun district council Babergh district council Beverley district council Birmingham district council Bracknell district council Broxbourne borough council Bury borough council Calderdale borough council Caradon district council Chelmsford borough council Chichester district council Colchester borough council Congleton borough council Dover district council Fareham borough council Gosport borough council Gravesham borough council Great Yarmouth borough council Guildford borough council Hart district council Hastings borough council Horsham district council Isles of Scilly council Kettering borough council Leeds city council 162 Lichfield district council Luton borough council Maldon district council Melton district council Mid Sussex district council Montgomeryshire district council Newcastle-under-Lyme borough council Newport borough council North devon district council Peterborough city council Poole borough council Reading borough council Reigate and Banstead borough council Rhymney Valley district council Rother district council Salisbury district council Scarborough borough council Sedgemoor district council Shepway district council Slough borough council Southampton city council Southend-on-Sea borough council South Lakeland district council South Northamptonshire district council South Shropshire district council South Tyneside borough council South Wight borough council Stoke-on-Trent city council Sutton borough council Tendring district council Thanet district council Tunbridge Wells borough council Warrington borough council Wokingham district council Woodspring district council Worcester city council Worthing borough council Wrexham Maelor borough council Wychavon district council Wycombe district council (b) Authorities which have adopted the 1990 model byelaws: Stratford-on-Avon district council

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    BG

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • ps you can even see a BMX Tyre marks ?? to the point its bmxers doing the damage.

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    David Jewell

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • This is nothing new. There is already a byelaw banning skate boards in parts of Yarmouth and that was brought in over 20 odd years ago.

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    BG

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Skateboarding is a fantastic sport, its wrong to calling them idiots victor, at lest there doing something being active,and staying away from drugs and crime and so on, to many people moan when they see people having fun they moan like nothing going on in there life's, live life enjoy and have fun make the most of it! life is to short.

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    David Jewell

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I like the idea of using the derelict areas under the Magdalen St flyover as a skate park. Skaters already use Anglia Square anyway I think. We need to accomodate them in the city somewhere.

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    oldowl

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Mr David Jewell has a valid point , which I agree with.

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    Euro

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • right the Damage to Norwich War Memorial, has been done by bmxs jumping on with the stunt pegs as you can see in Steve Adams photo there is no wax, skateboarder use wax for a smooth grind, i skated for over 7 years and used to skate the War Memorial with friends over ten years ago till one day some bmxers was taking chunks out with there tricks one there bikes. me and my friends was gutted as was not able to skate it any more due to the ruff edge, Council bosses NEED TO SAY A BIG SORRY to the skaters for blaming them, and look into what little damage caused by skating to the Big damaged caused by the bmx..... do you home work, thank you

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    David Jewell

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Jen whilst I accept the point that the article infers the damage has been done by skateboarding it does not actually state it as fact. I very strongly believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty and the skateboarders have not been found guilty and should not therefore be banned from a public place. I also accept that it is a war memorial as deserves special reverence in memory of those who have lost their lives but one way of keeping their memory alive is to allow full public access especially to the young who will reflect on what has been sacrificed so that they are free to ride their skateboards with harassment.

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    PDH

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • You know you are old and miserable when you are going after the skateboarders. Haven't the dinosaurs got anything better to do like blocking yet another development in the county denying young people a future?

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    Steady On

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I believe that instead of trying to guess where the skateboarders will go next, they should focus more on who done this because from skateboarding, they are destroying an important monument which is Vandalism (against the Law). when you thought about back then whan the made the monument, no-one would dare touch it because of what it stood for. now in the future, as time passes, we forget these things and I cant believe some people have the nerve. Disrespectful. They should be punished for this. not a massive punishment because its not that bad but, they should realize what they have done.

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    ImTheRealFaZe

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Of course, there are areas and monuments that skateboarders should not use, as they're being damaged. Why not dedicate areas where they can skate and then strongly enforce or add low railingsstuds etc to places where they can't. Overall I'm not against skate boarding in the city centre.

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    LLCK

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Have to agree with the comments about the dangers of cyclists especially in London Street, only a matter of time before a child or frail elderly person is killed by a cyclist. Pavement cyclists are a disgrace to other cyclists and I say that as a non car owning cyclist. They have no concerns for pedestrians or the injury they may cause them

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    blister

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Skateboarders need somewhere to practice their skills closer to the centre of the city that Eaton and the Anglia Square flyover waste ground would make a perfect place. I have been close to being hit by flying boards and boarders many times and I have actually seen kids going over the top of the steps on Davy Place. If they had hit anyone coming up the other way or even approaching it would have been messy. Bikes on pavements, cars parking on pavements and chuggers are all a complete pain and I wish our enforcers would sort it out now.

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    jo burton

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • PDH did you not read all the article and about the damage. Council bosses say they are having to consider the action because of damage caused to the War Memorial Gardens and the base of the war memorial, which is a Grade II listed monument. They say the steps outside the Gaol Hill entrance to City Hall and the plinth at the base of the clock tower in St Giles Street have also been damaged.

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    JEN

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I am rather disturbed by this. It seems to me that the City Council and members of this forum have not been able to give a reason why skateboarders should be banned from the city council. In my opinion they are not doing any harm to anyone and are simply enjoying themselves and not interfering with anyone else. Maybe it is because they are considered different from what certain groups call the norm? Everyone has a right to live their own life as an individual in a society just as long as they are not causing any harm. If we are banning people can we ban market traders who shout loudly, city councillors who make party statements in public places, drug dealers from behind the market place, alcohol drinkers who cause a nuisance outside Tesco Metro and Pensioners who walk slowly in front of me delaying my progress.

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    PDH

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Hah, well said Frank Young, totally agree. And with Nexus_6 too, chuggers shamelessly prey on the most vulnerable people.

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    Only Me

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • The police do nothing about cyclists riding on paths, no lights, so how will the bother with skate boards. We are spending money on cycle, spend a few more £'s and give these skate boarders a proper place to skate board

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I think the worst menace in the city are Chuggers.If there is a complete ban on anything,get rid of them first.

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    Nexus_6

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • By all means place bans on key areas. But fine the individuals don't punish the group. We should be encouraging physical activities, and letting kids be kids.

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    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • It's about time something was done about cars in the city, another menace are the stunt car drivers that often accompany them, these cretins combined with the so called normal drivers make it a misery to either walk or cycle anywhere in Norwich. Neugh!

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    frank young

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • It's about time something was done about skaters in the city, another menace are the stunt bmx 'ers that often accompany them, these cretins combined with the so called normal cyclists make it a misery to either walk or drive anywhere in Norwich.

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    mr mayhem

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • The use of an existing law, i.e. criminal damage should be used against offenders. Banning a healthy past time is ridiculous. Lets get Eaton park stake park finished for a start (half is still not completed) and build more like it. Eaton Park Skate Park is always busy with youngsters enjoying themselves getting loads of fresh air and exercise, isn’t this what we want? Forget the ban and encourage the use of skate parks.

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    Euro

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • A couple of years back I had words with some skateboarders on the Haymarket who were using the hanging baskets as a braking system for their lame attempts at tricks with their skateboards. They responded with a torrent of four letter abuse and continued with their activities causing havoc amongst the pedestrians using the area. It seems they have continued with their activities causing wanton damage in public areas and showing no respect for people or property. Never mind police cautions these idiots need to be prosecuted to stop their activities.

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    VictorM

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • My own personal experience makes me feel that I would rather see action taken against the wholesale ignoring of rules & others safety by cyclists, than have the council spend budget dealing with a few, mostly harmless skateboarders.

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    el84

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • There are notices around the periphery of the Forum to state No Sateboarding and othyer pursuits,yet no action is ever taken by the Forum Security ,Police Officers,and Support Officers, who witness ,and yet fail to stop it !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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