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Angry parents and kids protest over skate park axe
INCENSED mums gathered to bolster their rapidly growing campaign to save a popular skate park from the axe.
The ranks of the Save Flackwell Heath Park movement have been swelling by the day after a Facebook protest was launched.
Dozens of parents and children met at the Cherry Fayre yesterday to vent their feelings.
Hundreds have signed up to the web campaign while petitions have attracted similar numbers.
Angry mothers launched the demonstration after it emerged the skateboard ramps, fitted eight years ago thanks to a £16,000 community fundraising project, could be removed.
The move by Chepping Wycombe Parish Council has shocked residents after the authority earlier this year said it was looking to replace the skateboard equipment at the Straight Bit site with new BMX ramps.
Councillors say a new site will be found and insisted there had been too many complaints about noise and anti-social behaviour to do nothing.
But grandmother-of-six Janet Chadbone, who was gathering names at The Cherry Fayre yesterday on her petition, was outraged by the possible scrapping of the skate ramps.
The Straight Bit resident said: “The majority of people seemed to be incensed that these complaints may force the removal of a play area that has been paid for by the community.”
Mum of two Natalie, also of Straight Bit, said: “We're very upset with out local council on lots of levels. We've been told there's no money in the pot for our village for speed signs or crossings that we've asked for, yet there is to remove something we want to stay.
“Rather than taking this out which we've paid for they should be spending money improving the other facilities which have been here for years.
“Over 900 children go to primary schools five minutes from here. My children mix with others from different schools so it's very important on a social level, and also for the exercise.
On the youngsters using the rec, she said: “They're not hooligans and we, the parents, are down here with them.”
She added: “It's a vital community meeting point. It's an issue about noise levels, police have come out and said there isn't.”
The village's MP Dominic Grieve told the BFP he has been inundated with letters on the subject, from residents opposing the change, but also from a gentleman who is unhappy about the impact the skate facilities have on his life.
Mr Grieve said: “I understand local people's concerns about losing the skate park, I understand also there's somebody who feels it's improperly sited. I'm not going to comment on that, I'm in no position to make a judgement on that at all.
“I hope this can come to a satisfactory outcome. Obviously if the facility is lost completely I can understand that would be very disappointing for many people in Flackwell Heath.”
Council chairman Jeff Herschel has said: "The council agreed that the do nothing option is not a go’er. Now it’s being used by BMX bikes it’s too small. It needs to be bigger and better.
"The council is concerned about noise and anti-social behaviour and that obviously has some bearing on the speed in which we move forward. There have been too many complaints."
Councillor Dave Johncock is supporting the protest.
Flackwell Heath Residents’ Association has written to the council with its concerns and called for a full public consultation.