Cromer skatepark campaigners march to North Norfolk District Council headquarters to hand over protest petition

Chanting children and adults waved banners and marched up to North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) headquarters yesterday afternoon to hand in a petition demanding a skatepark on Cromer's North Lodge Park.

A group of about 30 presented the 350-signature petition to council chief executive Sheila Oxtoby in what parent and spokesman Andrew Harrison-Robertshaw described as a peaceful protest.

But he warned that campaigners were now so frustrated after many years of being 'fobbed off with false hopes and promises which never materialise', they would take direct action if the petition failed to bring about change, aiming to embarrass both NNDC and Cromer Town Council.

The group wanted NNDC to donate its former Kiddies' Corner site on North Lodge Park for a skatepark and users would then fund-raise to provide equipment, he said.

The protestors gathered to start their march, to NNDC's Holt Road base in Cromer, in the unofficial skatepark they have set up for boarders, BMX riders and scooter users on the now-derelict Kiddies' Corner.

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Next month the district council is expected to reveal plans for a six-figure revamp of the area which does not include a skatepark.

'Whatever happens here we will continue to use it,' said Mr Harrison-Robertshaw. 'They will use any seating or other obstacles as ramps and if they turf us out completely, we'll move to the promenade which will embarrass both councils in the approach to the tourist season.

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'We have tried the softly-softly approach and now is the time for an active approach.'

Cromer mum Jill Alyagoub, who joined the march with her 13-year-old son Khalid, said he had started riding a mountain bike recently and the North Lodge Park site provided somewhere safe to use it.

'They need somewhere off the streets,' she said. 'Since my son's been using his bike, he's not been at home on his XBox and the government is always saying that children need to keep fit and be active.'

Khalid added: 'There's not much to do in Cromer but here I can learn new skills on my bike and make new friends.'

John Lee, NNDC deputy leader, is due to meet director Nick Baker tomorrow to see if any changes could be made to the plans for North Lodge Park but he warned that they were at a tricky stage.

They were trying to cater for people aged nine months to 90 and it was difficult to keep everybody happy.

Mr Lee said he had also asked officers to re-examine the possibility of using the Fearns Field play area, at Suffield Park, although it was bounded by homes on all four sides.

He added: 'I don't want them to feel nobody's doing anything. It's quite right that children are campaigning and I recognise what they are trying to achieve.'

Earlier this month a large group of protesto

Earlier this month a large group of protestors lobbied a Cromer Town Council meeting demanding a skatepark.

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