Cromer Skatepark anger after North Norfolk District Council planners switch site on The Meadow
12:56 26 July 2012
Disappointed members of Cromer Skatepark say they will spend their funds putting ramps in the town’s North Lodge Park after council planners switched the expected site of their hoped-for permanent home.
North Norfolk District Council’s development committee this morning voted in favour of a sloped site which would take up part of the pitch and putt course on The Meadow.
Officers had recommended a flat site on The Meadow, north west of the Weavers’ Way footpath, and close to a children’s play area and zip wire.
Cromer Skatepark chairman Andrew Harrison-Robertshaw said after the meeting that the revised site would involve even more delays after a 20-year wait for facilities.
“We’re just being passed from pillar to post. It was the district council that suggested the first site on The Meadow and now they’re changing their minds. I’m not happy about it,” he said.
“This will lead to more time wasted and more opportunities for people to complain. It’s going to go round in circles for years and years.”
Benjamin Cabbell Manners proposed the alternative after telling fellow committee members that the flat site was close to sheltered housing and would take away land used daily by children for informal football, cricket and rugby.
Members voted to give officers delegated powers to approve the sloped site, subject to no new objections being received and a fresh consultation and re-advertisement of the proposals.
Cromer town councillor Scott Eastwood spoke in favour of the application during the meeting. Afterwards he echoed the skatepark campaigners’ disappointment and said he believed the officers’ recommended solution would have left enough vacant land for children to play other games on the site.
“The sloped site will increase costs - and there will be drainage considerations. It would also mean losing some of the pitch and putt facility,” said Mr Eastwood.
Skateboarders have been using North Lodge Park temporarily while waiting for a permanent home.
Mr Harrison-Robertshaw said the group had fund-raised about £2,000 towards a skatepark and would now use this to develop one in North Lodge Park. He realised that, by doing so, they would forfeit a £10,000 grant from the district council’s Big Society Fund but said that would only have been available for a year and would have lapsed anyway because of inevitable further delays with the sloped site.
The application for a skatepark on The Meadow generated 11 letters of objection - on grounds including noise and visual intrusion - and 23 letters of support.
The bid followed years of disappointment as possible permanent sites fell through at Happy Valley, Fearns Field and North Lodge Park.
Addressing the committee, Cromer Academy student Phoebe Gee, 14, said young people really deserved a skatepark and it would keep them off dangerous roads and out of trouble by giving them something to do.