Petition handed over to stop Great Yarmouth council from shutting Retroskate

Members of the Retroskate artistic roller skating club hand over a petition to Graham Plant, Great Y

Members of the Retroskate artistic roller skating club hand over a petition to Graham Plant, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, to save their venue at the Marina Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

More than 1000 people have signed a petition launched as part of the fight to save one of the UK's only dedicated roller skating rinks.

Parents and members took their protest over the future of their artistic skating club at Retroskate to the steps of Great Yarmouth town hall on Tuesday.

The petition was handed over to council leader Graham Plant by Mia McKean whose two children George, 12, and Grace aged 10, are members.

Some seven youngsters including two double British champions and a Cup of Europe competitor were also on hand to share their concerns.

Mrs McKean said she wanted to make people aware of the threat to Retroskate which faces losing its home under plans to remodel the seafront Marina Centre.

The indoor bowls rinks could also be swept away under the options for change.

'I felt that a lot of what had happened had happened quietly and that it was important to get the message out so the electorate could give their views,' Mrs McKean said.

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'There is a lot of support out there for Retroskate and for skating in Yarmouth.'

Mrs McKean, of South Walsham, said she had gathered 1,119 signatures in three days - enough to force the full council to debate the issue under its own constitution which sets a trigger limit of 900.

She added: 'For the club members it is devastating. To have a rink that you have exclusive access to has been really important and that is why the club is so successful. It is able to put on extra training sessions which could not be done if it were just using another venue.

'For the children it is not just about the artistic club, it is a very safe place for them to go. We have 48 national champion medals so it is obviously a thriving club.'

Jane Siegert, whose 12-year-old daughter Ellen has won seven British titles, said: 'I cannot think what would happen if the rink went. It does not bear thinking about.'

For many of the 60 members dedication to their sport taught them a host of life lessons that would stand them in good stead and make them more resilient adults, she added.

Graham Plant said he was happy to receive the petition from parents urging the council to take account of their children when the decision was made.

He said: 'This is a group of parents who have decided to come together to try and influence the council that has a decision to make. That is perfectly acceptable and I think people should have their say. If people feel strongly about something they should be able to get their voice heard.

'The problem the council has is that it is cash-strapped and we have to make serious decisions about how we spend the money.

'The fact that they have brought this petition along to say they want their children to be considered is applaudable.'

He added that members would be presented with a set of options and figures that would help them to decide which route to take in the next few weeks.