Youngsters to lobby councillors over skatepark plans

Youngsters at Stamford Recreation Ground who are in support of a new skatepark. From left, back, Laurie Copley, 16, Jacob Poznanski, 17, Nick Tait, 16, Jack Crook, 16, Sam Robinson, 16, and Kyle Bell, 17. Front, Leo Clack, nine, Hector Clack, 11, and Sam Holmes, 16. 'Photo: MSMP101012-019ow
Youngsters at Stamford Recreation Ground who are in support of a new skatepark. From left, back, Laurie Copley, 16, Jacob Poznanski, 17, Nick Tait, 16, Jack Crook, 16, Sam Robinson, 16, and Kyle Bell, 17. Front, Leo Clack, nine, Hector Clack, 11, and Sam Holmes, 16. 'Photo: MSMP101012-019ow

Skatepark campaigners are asking supporters to go to a district council planning meeting on Tuesday for one final show of support.

South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee will discuss the application to build a skatepark on the Recreation Ground in Stamford at the council offices in Grantham at 1pm on Tuesday.

Stamford Skatepark Committee, which raised £150,000 to fund the new park, has organised a free 53-seater coach to take supporters to the meeting.

Council officers are recommending that councillors refuse permission for the new skatepark, citing concerns over noise.

More than 200 letters of support for the skatepark have been sent to the district council. A total of 42 letters of objection were also received.

On Sunday about 250 people of all ages marched through the streets of Stamford in a show of support for the plans.

Laurie Copley, 16, from Stamford, is one of a number of youngsters planning to attend the meeting on Tuesday to speak in support of the skatepark.

He said: “The number of people who skate is growing and there needs to be somewhere decent to do it.

“Without anywhere to skate we end up in car parks and we get a lot of complaints. But we have been skating without a park for four or five years and we have stuck with it.

“People need to realise it is not a hobby, it is a sport. It is one of the biggest physical activities people do in Stamford. There are good facilities for other sports but not for this.”

Brothers Hector and Leo Clack, 11 and 9, from Stamford, started a petition in support of the skatepark. After passing it between pupils at St Gilbert’s Primary School, Stamford Queen Eleanor School and Bourne Grammar School, they got more than 200 signatures.

They will both present the petition to councillors at the planning meeting on Tuesday.

Hector said: “We wanted to get as many people as we could to show the council they wanted the skatepark.

“There is a park in Corby but it costs money and our dad doesn’t always have the time to take us.

“We have been trying to find places to skate but there aren’t many options.So many people skate in Stamford and a park would be really good for the town.”

Hector and Leo’s father James, 46, added: “The park is essential. At the moment they are having to try and skate in the street and in car parks and its not safe.

“There are so many doing it, the sport is growing. It’s like a big family and that is a good thing.”

The skatepark committee began raising money for a new park after the old wooden ramps were torn down in May, 2008, when they became unsafe.

Designs were drawn up for a concrete park, which the committee says will be more durable and quieter than the old park.

Stamford Town Council, which owns the Recreation Ground, has agreed to manage the park if permission is granted.

Stamford town councillor Maureen Jalili, who will speak at Tuesday’s meeting in support of the skatepark, said: “The project has the unqualified support of the town council.

“We have supported it from the beginning and are still behind it 100 per cent.

“We hope we can persuade the committee of the need for this facility for youngsters in the town who are quite badly catered for.”

But in a report to the district council, planning officers say the noise generated by skateboards and scooters will be unacceptable to neighbouring residents.

Places on the committee’s free coach to Grantham will be first-come-first-served but priority will be given to younger skaters.

Post on the Stamford Skate Park (SSP) Facebook page if you are interested.