Walsham skatepark future in doubt
NORTH Walsham's popular and hard-won skatepark faces closure at the end of the year unless more adults come forward to run it.Four of the attraction's five trustees must step down in December and, unless replacements are found, the ramps, fencing and shelter will have to be removed.
NORTH Walsham's popular and hard-won skatepark faces closure at the end of the year unless more adults come forward to run it.
Four of the attraction's five trustees must step down in December and, unless replacements are found, the ramps, fencing and shelter will have to be removed.
Organisers say that would be a “massive disappointment” for the £69,000 park's many users and could spell fresh trouble for shoppers.
“We'd go back to the days when children on skateboards were charging through the middle of town knocking old ladies over and hanging around the library car park upsetting people,” said trustee Kevin Fiske.
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Governing deeds of the park rule that trustees can only serve for four years which means Mr Fiske and fellow trustees Nick Dyball, Barry Foulser and Dustine Walker, will all be going. That will leave only skateboarder Matthew Cozens, who is about to be appointed a trustee.
“We're hoping some of the parents whose children use the skatepark will come forward,” said Mr Fiske. “Trustees get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that they're helping make sure this superb facility is there for the town.”
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The skatepark project was launched six years ago by a small group, including some of the current trustees whose own children were then skateboarders, BMX riders and roller skaters.
It followed constant complaints about young people causing problems for pedestrians in supermarket and public car parks, and in the town centre.
After many meetings, fund-raising events, form-filling and grant setbacks, the Trackside park was finally opened in November 2005.
“It's been a huge success,” said Mr Fiske. “If you go along on a Saturday or Sunday you'll see that the place is heaving with children and adults. It's a fantastic facility for North Walsham.”
BMX rider Chris Bullen said he came to the park most days and also spent time with friends in the youth shelter.
“It's a place to meet up and socialise without annoying other people and without anyone bothering us,” he said. “If we didn't have this we'd be in the middle of town causing more problems.”
But site management places constant demands on trustees who turn out once a week to clear more than five bin bags of litter, including broken glass, from the park.
And there have also been incidents of vandalism, which trustees say are not caused by regular park users.
After one attack £209 of the project's hard-earned funds had to be spent on replacing a mandatory health and safety sign.
Trustees were working closely with North Walsham Town Council, police and the youth service to combat problems, said Mr Fiske.
For more information ring Mr Fiske on 01692 405478. Volunteers to help with the litter pick are welcome each summer Wednesday at 7pm, or Sunday mornings at other times of the year.