Crucial step forward in youngsters dream of a Kessingland skate park
IT has taken years of planning and campaigning and has prompted fierce arguments and debate.
But youngsters in Kessingland are now one step closer to realising their dream of having their own purpose-built skate park in the village after a community group backed their plans.
The leaseholder for the Francis Road playing field – the Kessingland Sport and Social Club (KSSC) – has agreed in principle to allow a skate and BMX park to be built on the site. It comes after the previous KSSC committee spent months opposing the plans before its members stood down en masse in April.
The decision has now paved the way for the project to finally move forward, with a skate park support group looking to draw up a planning application once young people and designers have been consulted. It hopes to secure about �100,000 in grants to help cover the building costs.
Speaking on behalf of the support group, Nick Suker said: 'It is a massive relief because it has been very frustrating so far. It is going to give young people a massive opportunity.
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'Street sports are very popular in the UK. They reduce crime and give young people something to do.
'The parish council have always been supportive, but we have faced some political obstacles. It is not just the young people that are set to benefit – it will help the whole community.'
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Mr Suker said young people in the village had been calling for a skate park for about 10 years.
However, despite support from the parish council, the district council and Waveney MP Peter Aldous, plans were unable to progress because of opposition from the previous KSSC committee.
Its members argued that KSSC would be left to pay for the upkeep of the skate park once it was built and argued there were more suitable sites for it elsewhere in the village. There were also concerns that football pitch markings on the playing field would have to be moved to accommodate the skate park.
The saga took a major twist in April when the KSSC management committee decided to stand down.
The previous chairman, Valerie Burton, retired from her post amid claims that Kessingland Parish Council, which owns the playing fields, wanted to impose its views on the way KSSC ran them.
Angie Fickling, vice- chairman of Kessingland Parish Council, said she believed a skate park in the village could only be a good thing for the community. She added: 'When we were told at the last meeting that they were given the provisional go ahead were delighted. Now they can start applying for funding.'