Give skatepark a chance to flourish

THERE seems to be a lot of negativity about having a skatepark in Manor Park Gardens.

Having looked at the plans, the equipment being built is not very serious. There is no decent quarter or half pipe, but, on the other hand, this will allow quite young children to practise.

My worry is that there is to be an eight foot barrier to be built alongside it.

This will allow drug dealers/bullies or worse, to get to young children with impunity and I strongly ask the council to rethink building it.

The children’s playground does not have an eight foot barrier around it. We are not afraid that their sounds will be offensive.

When I grew up parks were for all ages. Older people took an interest in young people and joy in their development.

In my day everybody was out skating – in the streets, in the parks and in the far more playgrounds there were then.

Now, it seems, that any activity that is not for the very young or the old is to be treated with hysteria. There are not three skateparks in Eastbourne.

Blading and skateboarding are healthy activities for young people and should be encouraged to the hilt and not discouraged.

I have experience of young people who, during the summer, would go out blading or skateboarding early morning and come back in the evening tired, dirty, and with their energy used up in a completely positive way.

Getting the knack of grinding, ollying and the different turns takes hours and often days of practice, with a fantastic sense of achievement when different tricks are accomplished.

What we have here is an activity that attracts mostly boys and uses their energy in a positive way and which will give them strong hearts in later life. Or would we prefer that they carry on drinking alcohol out of boredom and feelings of exclusion from the rest of society and end up with liver disease in their 20s, or couch potatoes with all kinds of health issues – all costing the rest of us staggering amounts of money?

This is also a sociable sport.

My own experience is of groups of boys going round different parts of Eastbourne and meeting up and making friends with all kinds of other groups all involved in this sport.

They encourage each other and praise each other when new tricks are accomplished.

One instance comes to mind when it was starting to get dark and a young lad started crying because he was in the other side of Eastbourne to where he lived and was afraid to go home on his own.

The others he was with all pooled whatever money they had together, called for a taxi and sent him home in it!

For me there is a no brainer between encouraging skateparks and the sport that goes with them or having young lads at a loose end not using natural energy and sitting at home for hours on end playing video games.

G.O’NEILL

Vicarage Road