New skate park for Horsham given thumbs up

Horsham’s new skate park has been given planning permission but councillors want to discuss CCTV and lighting with the police.

The application to demolish the dilapidated facility in Horsham Park and replace it with a new one was given the nod by the planning committee on Tuesday (August 2).

While there was general enthusiasm for the new skate park, concerns were raised about previous anti-social behaviour, such as drug dealing.

David Skipp (Lib Dem, Forest) said the park would be ‘a great facility for young people’ but added: “It is quite an isolated area.

Proposed new skate part facility for Horsham

“When the previous skate park was functioning, there were numerous complaints about drug taking, drug use and all the rest of it.”

He asked for assurances that the council was looking seriously at installing cameras and that the community policing teams would be involved.

Dr Skipp told the meeting the council should be ‘far more concerned about protecting the youngsters who want to go there and use their skateboards’.

It is hoped that work to install a temporary access road across the northern end of the park will on August 8.

This will allow construction vehicles to move to and from the site during wet weather.

This prompted other concerns about the protection of trees in the area.

The council’s arboricultural officer said the idea of building an access road was ‘not unacceptable altogether’ but warned of the damage which could be caused to the roots of young trees by compacted soil.

Tricia Youtan (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold & Warnham) said: “It’s critical that these trees – or more importantly their root protection areas – will be adequately protected against soil compaction.”

Officers assured her that trees would be ‘boxed in’ and track mats would be laid to protect their roots.

To view the application, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/22/0967.

The council says it is working closely with a group of local BMX, skateboard, scooter and inline skate users “to ensure that the new park has high quality features for each of the disciplines and legacy features which celebrate the old park.

"We also want to ensure the park is welcoming to all and a great place to be.”

Next summer, the council hopes to host a skate jam to celebrate the new park.