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Pledge that views will be listened to over proposed Norwich city centre skateboard ban

PUBLISHED: 09:48 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:48 29 July 2014

A proposed byelaw could ban skateboarders like Joseph Kerr from skating in Norwich city centre. Photo by Simon Finlay.

A proposed byelaw could ban skateboarders like Joseph Kerr from skating in Norwich city centre. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Skateboarders will be consulted over a controversial byelaw which would ban them from using their boards in part of Norwich city centre, council leaders have insisted.

In a move proposed because of damage which Norwich City Council bosses say skaters have caused to the war memorial and City Hall, skateboarders who continue to ride within a certain area could be taken to court or given police cautions.

But skateboarders have accused the council of taking too heavy-handed an approach and questioned whether the damage has been caused by them.

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’s controlling Labour cabinet agreed in June to recommend that the council make the byelaw, but the issue has yet to come before the full council.

At a recent council meeting, Green city councillor Lucy Howard, who represents Mancroft ward, questioned how the council intended to carry out the four-week consultation which will be needed and, in particular, how the council would get the views of “key, hard-to-reach stakeholders” such as the skateboarders themselves.

Keith Driver, the council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “In terms of the skateboarders, we are taking the advice of the skateboarding community on how best to consult. However, skateboarders are just one part of the community affected by skateboarding.

“We need to consider the impact on everyone, including local businesses, organisations representing our veterans, other users of the open space and the general public.

“As far as the consultation is concerned, we are currently looking at how best to consult with those stakeholders, but I am sure you would appreciate that I would not want to second guess how the outcome would impact on the final byelaw. I want to keep an open mind.”

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.

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