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In response to Mr John Catchpole (Herald letters, October 9), let me take him back to the Magna Carta.

Sorry, only joking. I will not use any derogatory words like ‘bleat’ and ‘carp’ in my reply.

No one but the Friends of Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) has an ‘obsession’ with the Memorial Playing Field (MPF) skate park. They can only see it as something negative and make no attempt to understand what a great facility this will be for our young people and the town.

Contrary to his belief, there is no ‘overwhelming public opinion’ against it. Not content with calling the residents’ mandate to support the MPF plan (in the Town Poll) irrelevant, he now says they did not understand the question.

The wording of the poll could not have been clearer. “Do you want Steyning Parish Council to provide a skate park in the Memorial Playing Field, incorporating the existing asphalt strip, located near the Rublees Allotments boundary?”

A public meeting voted in favour of this clear and unambiguous wording prior to the poll. Nowhere does it say, as he claims, it would be the same size as the tarmac strip, and he knows it.

The FoMPF had earlier called a meeting in Springwells Hotel (September 19, 2013) followed by one in a supporter’s garden to vote on a resolution for the Town Poll using the words ‘build a skatepark on the cricket field’. Now that would have been misleading. Both meetings were declared unlawful by Horsham District Council.

He criticised the fact that two disabled car park spaces, hexapath and earth bunds have been removed from the plan, but neglected to say it was the FoMPF who had objected to these. In their poll leaflet (among other things), they tried to confuse the public by saying the council intended to build ‘a car park’, not two disabled bays.

He complains that village green status would have to be removed, neglecting to say that the FoMPF had registered that area a village green to prevent the skate park being built. It was not a village green at the time of the poll when the council planned the facility. Also, The South Downs National Park had no problems with it.

He takes us back 14 years to a different situation, a different council, a different population. There are many more young families here now and their needs have to be recognised. Would he expect David Cameron to follow Tony Blair’s manifesto?

He then cites a council survey in 2011. He says 75 per cent rejected the MPF. This is factually wrong, 25 per cent were in favour of the MPF and 75 per cent in favour of the alternative, a field, opposite the leisure centre. This alternative proved to be unsuitable on health and safety grounds, including the busy Horsham Road. The police were also concerned about the isolated site. Lease costs were also a factor. It was eventually rejected and other sites sought. Eventually, the MPF was proposed.

Had the FoMPF accepted the democratic decision of the Town Poll, which incidently their chairman said the council should abide by prior to the poll, ‘our community would not be divided as it is today’ (to quote Mr Catchpole).

These, too, are my personal comments, but yours sound remarkably like the FoMPF’s, which you claim they are not.

Mike Kelly

Kings Stone Avenue

Steyning

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