Upper Beeding residents in passionate campaign for new skate park

Residents of Upper Beeding have come out in force as part of a campaign to have a skate park built in the village.

Father-of-four Mark Standen-Hyde, 41, has called on Upper Beeding Parish Council to authorise a new ramp at the basketball courts in Upper Beeding Park in High Street.

DM19100418a.jpg. Upper Beeding residents campaigning for skate park in the village. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190210-193940008

DM19100418a.jpg. Upper Beeding residents campaigning for skate park in the village. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190210-193940008

With the closest skate park in Small Dole, children are forced to walk down the ‘death trap’ of Henfield Road, or be driven to Shoreham, Lancing or Hove Lagoon.

Mark, who has been a skateboarder since he was a child, said it is time for attitudes around skating to change.

“There’s a changing demographic in Upper Beeding,” he said.

“There are younger families now with children and a real community vibe. Not all of them like football, or basketball, but they want to do something outdoors.

“I pushed my children towards doing a sport, and they all chose skateboarding. It’s about setting an example and educating people about the sport.

“It’s just showing them that it’s a different way. If we can make it a fun environment that will engage younger kids, we can change their opinions.”

Mark said the parish council had rejected previous requests for a skate park on the grounds that it encouraged gangs to loiter and could increase social behaviour.

But a parish council spokesman said the issue of new facilities was on the agenda for a meeting yesterday (October 2) – but no residents attended to state their case.

The spokesman said the Small Dole park was ‘substantial’, but the parish council was happy to explore residents’ ideas and welcomed them at public sessions during meetings.

The next step for the campaigners, said Mark, is to work with the parish council and begin fundraising.