Skatepark's opening hours are questioned

OPENING hours for a planned skatepark in Steyning have been questioned.

Tuesday, 10th June 2014, 9:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:51 am
The area of Memorial Playing Field where the skatepark is planned D12395038a

The Steyning Parish Council application is expected to be discussed by Horsham district planners later this summer.

It was originally due to be dealt with in April and was then removed from the May agenda at the last minute. Horsham District Council confirmed on Tuesday it will not now appear on the June agenda either.

A spokesman said: “We will continue to keep the public engaged in terms of progress through the normal consultation process.”

Friends of Memorial Playing Field vice-chairman Paul Campbell called on Steyning Parish Council to tell the electorate what was going on.

Mr Campbell said: “We have written to the planners recently about what we think are a large number of problems, the most serious of which is that the planning application is for a dawn to dusk facility, but the village green status necessarily makes it a 24-hour-per-day one.

“Using a skatepark as a skatepark, at any time, is lawful sport or recreation and therefore it is illegal to stop this under a ‘management plan’ or anything else. There cannot be opening and closing hours on a village green.

“We think the delay is to do with Steyning Parish Council and Horsham District Council trying to sort this problem out.”

Parish clerk Sue Booth said up until early this week, the council had been working towards planning determination on June 17 and hoping for a positive result. “We, like everyone else, are concerned about the delays,” she added.

The management plan clearly states hours of use as 8.30am until dusk, during which the skatepark would be monitored by PCSOs and neighbourhood wardens.

Parish council chairman Phil Bowell said: “We are proud of the youth of Steyning and we believe that the majority will act responsibly. Use of the PCSOs and wardens to monitor the facility is not an intent to criminalise the users but to encourage responsibility.”

Little or no use of the facility was expected until 3.30pm on weekdays during term time, and as there is no ambient lighting planned, it would not be possible to use it after dark.