New hope in quest for Petworth skatepark site

Joy turned to fury when CDC refused the use of the Sylvia Beaufoy car park pictured here with town council chairman Chris Kemp and Roger Hanauer
Joy turned to fury when CDC refused the use of the Sylvia Beaufoy car park pictured here with town council chairman Chris Kemp and Roger Hanauer

There is new hope in the search to find a site for the long awaited skatepark at Petworth.

On Tuesday (November 1) Chichester District Council’s (CDC) Cabinet members will look at a proposal to site the skatepark at the bottom of the town’s central Pound Street car park.

It was one of 20 options put forward by Petworth town councillors in a site appraisal after their bid to site the skatepark in the Sylvia Beaufoy car park was controversially thrown out by the district council.

But submitting it to CDC town councillors said they believed no other sites were viable, contending the Sylvia Beaufoy car park was still the best option.

But on Tuesday cabinet members will decide whether to authorise further discussions between the town council and CDC officers to advance outline plans for the Pound Street car park ‘in order that the implications can be better understood’.

In addition the cabinet is being recommend to provisionally confirm putting £70,000 towards the project subject to the approval of a precise location, design, risk, management and lease terms.

One of the project leaders at Petworth Town Council Roger Hanauer kept tight lipped on the project as he reported to fellow town councillors on Thursday.

He told them: “I don’t want to jump the gun thinking back to the fiasco in February’.

But he said he had been ‘much encouraged’ by a recent meeting with CDC’s cabinet member Gillian Keegan and CDC officers.

Planning permission had been granted several years ago for a skatepark in the Sylvia Beaufoy car park but it expired and when the town council asked again to use the CDC owned land in February this year they were refused because of safety concerns and asked to explore alternative locations.

In a report to Cabinet members on Tuesday they are told: “The town council’s options appraisal had included the car park, but perceived that the conflict with existing car park use would be a reason to discount it in favour of the Sylvia Beaufoy site.”

Among the issues to be addressed would be the loss of car parking space.

The Cabinet report says: “The loss in the proposed location has yet to be quantified, but not likely to be significant (potentially no more than ten spaces). It is recognised the area of car park is not always used by season ticket holders and has previously accommodated the mobile West Sussex County Council waste and recycling centre. However a lease agreement to the town council for the use of the land will need to be provided and the rent payable may seek to reflect the loss of income to the council.”

£50,000 has long been earmarked by CDC for the provision of a skatepark and Cabinet members are being asked to approve an extra £20,000 in part to address the depreciation of the £50,000 in the 15 years it has remained unused.

The town council has earmarked a further £10,000 to add to the budget.

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