It is sad to see that the Steyning skate park saga continues into its fourth year (Steyning Herald, January 22).
Not content with litigation, judicial reviews and appeals, the Friends of Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) still maintain the pretence of achieving a skate park at the leisure centre/school site.
We also now hear that a claim for costs by the FoMPF against Horsham District Council (HDC) has been rejected by the Government inspectorate.
Mr Paul Campbell from (FoMPF) claims ‘there is now the opportunity for our whole community to work together to provide a skate park in the area of the town originally preferred by skaters themselves’.
This is demonstrably not the case. Our interviews with young people show they would prefer an uncaged facility in the Memorial Playing Field (MPF). The youngsters also delivered a petition to Steyning Parish Council confirming their preference for the MPF.
The pupils of Steyning Grammar School, I am reliably informed, do not support the school site either.
Mr Campbell also mentions a 2011 town survey by the council when trying to locate a suitable site (Goring Estate field opposite the leisure centre) but conveniently neglected to say that after investigation by the council, it was rejected for many good reasons, not least safety and affordability.
The joint statement by the head teacher of Steyning Grammar School, Mr Wergan, the governors, the chairman of the Foundation Trust and the principal manager of planning at West Sussex County Council shows all have reiterated their ‘complete opposition to any skate park development at the Horsham Road site’.
FoMPF also knows that Steyning Parish Council and all stakeholders reject their unachievable plan.
Most tellingly, Steyning residents voted in a town poll and public meeting in favour of the MPF site.
It is time that the FoMPF ceased the charade that ‘we can work together’ to force the school to give up land for their skate park (a caged and locked facility, closed until 3.30pm, unaffordable, unsafe and obviously not suitable for our younger children).
The social cohesion of Steyning has not, thankfully, been weakened by the actions of this group.
We are now in a period leading up to council elections in May. This will be a time to try to put an end to suspicion and litigation. Residents want to see a return to more harmonious times where a council can concentrate on dealing with important work, not least the town plan for the next 15 years.
We hope to see an end to the sight of the FoMPF setting up their recording equipment at every council meeting (it is legally permitted, but not a very edifying sight to witness).It is not conducive to harmony, goodwill or respect for ordinary people giving up their time freely for the benefit of us all.
Kings Stone Avenue
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