City councillor apologises after Norwich skate ban email gaffe

Councillors will next week decide whether to bring in a bylaw to ban skating in parts of Norwich. Ph

Councillors will next week decide whether to bring in a bylaw to ban skating in parts of Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

An embarrassing email gaffe saw a city councillor reply to an opponent of the proposed ban on skateboarding in parts of Norwich - and describe their views as 'tosh'.

Mike Sands, Labour councillor for Bowthorpe, intended to send the email, about a letter from skating campaign group Long Live Southbank, to city council leader Brenda Arthur.

But he accidentally replied to the letter's author Paul Richards, who had emailed the letter to every member of Norwich City Council.

Mr Richards accused Mr Sands of a lack of respect or understanding about the issue and Mr Sands yesterday apologised.

Norwich City Council will next week decide whether to press ahead with a proposed bylaw to ban skateboards, roller skates and scooters from parts of the city centre.

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The council said it needed to take action because of damage caused to the war memorial and to City Hall. The bylaw could see those who disobey it taken to court, although the city council stressed it would adopt a 'soft approach'.

It would cover the areas around the war memorial, the War Memorial Gardens, St Peter Mancroft, Gaol Hill leading to London Street, The Forum, City Hall and Hay Hill.

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It has been supported by veterans' groups, but skaters have accused the council of being heavy-handed.

In Mr Sands's email, he wrote 'read the letter... what tosh! As advised no response'. He then outlined how he had replied to a previous letter from a skater offering to meet them to discuss the issues and got no response. He also said he believed skaters were motivated by a desire to 'be seen' skateboarding in the city.

Mrs Sands said last night: 'I would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my email.'

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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