UPDATE: Cromer North Lodge Park skatepark bid looks doomed to failure

A showdown is looming after dozens of frustrated Cromer youngsters demanded a skatepark - and threatened to 'embarrass' the town and district councils by setting up their own in front of the pier.

The children, and many parents, lobbied Cromer Town Council on Monday evening, demanding that they be allowed to permanently take over the former Kiddies' Corner at North Lodge Park and build a park for their skateboards, BMXs and scooters.

If not, they said they would set up a park on the steps in front of the pier.

But the North Lodge Park bid looks set to end in disappointment.

The News has learnt that the town council and North Norfolk District Council are one month away from unveiling plans for a six-figure revamp of the park - including a new use for Kiddies' Corner that does not include a skatepark.

Although he did not go into detail, district council deputy leader John Lee told the town council: 'We've had discussions and the district council has already committed a sum to repair and improve the shelters.

'We've also reaffirmed the decision to support the continued provision of public toilets. At no time in these discussions has a skatepark been mentioned.

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'The plans do not include a skatepark in North Lodge Park, and when it was discussed there was a lot of opposition from local residents.'

He said 'other possible sites' in Suffield Park and the town centre could be considered.

In recent weeks, the 30-year quest for a skatepark has returned to the surface, with numerous children setting up temporary ramps and making Kiddies' Corner their own.

Waving 'Give Youth a Future' and 'Skate Park Issue Will Not Fade Away' banners, more than 50 young people, and some parents, packed the chamber and the lobby before and during the town council's meeting at North Lodge.

Before the meeting, Dean Gray, 13, said: 'I think a skatepark would benefit the youth because it keeps us occupied and healthy.'

Matthew Cox, 13, said it would save them having to travel to Sheringham, North Walsham or Mundesley to use a skatepark, and Nathan Ellis, 14, said 'it would keep us off the streets'.

Speaking through parent Andrew Harrison-Robertshaw at Monday's meeting, they made it clear that they were running out of patience for a permanent solution.

He said: 'Cromer officials have let down the youth of Cromer for too many generations. Now is the time to fight back.

'We demand the site at North Lodge Park for a skatepark. If our demands are not met, then the unofficial skatepark will be moved down to the promenade, which would be quite an embarrassment for the council.'

Earlier in the day, town mayor Greg Hayman and fellow councillor Scott Eastwood led the launch of a North Norfolk Labour Party 'skate it Cromer' campaign, designed to finally end the youngsters' hunt for a permanent park.

The pair have agreed to look at ways of funding the facility, and are calling on the town, district and county councils to 'provide the necessary funds', looking at finding matched funding from other bodies.

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