Anger over Hampden Park skate park plan

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A new skate park will be built in Hampden Park, despite complaints from local residents.

There has been much discussion about where the facility should go and on Wednesday night Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet members backed the old rifle range.

One resident, Lisa Smart, said it would be a ‘huge mistake’ to place it there; however youths who spoke at the meeting said they opted for the rifle range rather than the existing BMX ramp site at Cross Levels Way.

The debate was kicked off by Sandy Boyce-Sharp, chairman of the Friends of Hampden Park, who said there was not an issue with noise at the latter site. The group is opposed to the skate park going on the rifle range as it would like to see other facilities there including a butterfly sanctuary and ice skating rink.

Lisa Smart added, “A skate park in Cross Levels Way is absolutely ideal. It doesn’t disturb anyone. It would be a huge mistake in my view to put it where it’s been proposed (rifle range).”

Other members of the public spoke in favour of the Cross Levels Way site however, one young speaker said that site would be perfect for a pump track as the mud is already there and it would be a shame to lose the dirt to a concrete park. A questionnaire showed that while out of 319 votes 56 per cent opted for Cross levels Way and 44 per cent chose the rifle range, the majority of skate park users asked had opted for the rifle range location. Both sites would require planning permission for the facility.

During the meeting the audience heard how it would cost up to £21,000 to develop the facility at Cross Levels Way and up to £7,000 within Hampden Park. Councillor Steve Wallis said one of the key issues for him was whether the skate part would be used and that was why he was opting for the rifle range.

Councillor Carolyn Heaps said, “I’m concerned we could very well bow to a consensus of opinion from people who don’t use the skate park. Hampden Park is able to cater for different age groups.”

Councillor David Tutt said when he spoke to skate boarders about the facility being located at Cross Levels Way they had replied, ‘we do not believe that is an appropriate site and the BMX and bikers were there first.”

Members unanimously voted for the facility to be located at the rifle range.