Youngsters jumping for joy over skatepark plan

PUBLISHED: 12:59 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

Skatepark joy

Skatepark joy

YOUNGSTERS who had campaigned for a new skatepark will be able to get their skates on at a new £50,000 venue. The jubliant group who had fought for the facility were at North Herts District Council s area committee last week to see the plan for Norton Co

YOUNGSTERS who had campaigned for a new skatepark will be able to get their skates on at a new £50,000 venue.

The jubliant group who had fought for the facility were at North Herts District Council's area committee last week to see the plan for Norton Common in Letchworth GC approved.

Led by 13-year-old Richard Porteous, they outlined their hopes for somewhere to practise to the committee last September and received a standing ovation.

Three facilities in the town were approved in principle and council officers started working closely with the skateboarders, residents and users of the common to develop the scheme.

After it was given the go-ahead, Richard's father Jim was so pleased with the result that he wrote to council chairman Lynda Needham: "We'd like to thank you for taking seriously the views of the boys whom you have consulted.

"Our son has, we think, really benefited by seeing democracy in action by attending the Letchworth committee and being in regular consultation with councillors and with council officers.

"He and his friends have been treated as sensible young adults; that being the case, they are, we think, very likely to behave accordingly."

The skatepark should be up and running by the end of March with others to follow at the Grange Playing Fields and Baldock Road Recreation Ground, both costing an estimated £25,000.

In Hitchin a £40,000 facility in King George's Recreation Ground is due to open in April and another, costing £35,000, at Walsworth Common by the end of the year.

Cllr Ian Knighton, portfolio holder for leisure, said: "We are very pleased that we have been able to help a group of enthusiastic young people pursue their sport in a constructive manner.

"It is not always easy to provide the right facilities for youngsters but they are an important part of the community and we must cater for them in a way that does not cause problems for others."

Cllr Michael Paterson, chairman of the Letchworth committee, said: "I am delighted with the result of the public consultation, particularly with the fact that people of all ages took part and responded positively. The committee was unanimous in supporting the proposals which will benefit our young citizens.

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