Access fears hit skatepark plans

Land in Thetford behind the leisure centre - site of a skate park.   Private road that leads to the area.

Land in Thetford behind the leisure centre - site of a skate park. Private road that leads to the area.

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The future of a skatepark next to Breckland Leisure Centre hangs in the balance after last-minute concerns were raised about access.

Members of the Moving Thetford Forward Panel meeting last week were surprised when the skatepark project manager said ‘complex and sensitive’ issues had been raised.

A meeting will be held next Wednesday between Thetford Town Council, Keystone Developments, the Healthy Living Centre and Breckland Council to try to thrash out the problems on the shared site.

Breckland councillor William Nunn said after the meeting: “It’s been at the Moving Thetford Forward board for two years.

“Now it’s spade-ready we’ve got people coming up with issues. People have had two years to do this.

”We’ve done all the work. We’ve got the planning permission, we’ve got the land. If they thought it was the wrong site, I would rather they had said so at the outset.”

Susan Glossop, acting Thetford town clerk, said things had changed at the site, with the Healthy Living Centre needing more parking spaces.

Unable to discuss the matter fully before next week’s meeting, she said: “When the town council was first asked to take on the management of it, it was about managing a skatepark, now it’s a road as well, because people would be coming up Keystone’s road.”

Neil Stott, Keystone Development Trust’s chief executive, said they owned the access road to the site, which is bordered by parking and used by people visiting its Innovation Centre as well as the neighbouring Healthy Living Centre.

“There are all sorts of issues,” he said. “This is about how we manage a site with a huge number of users.

“Keystone is 100 per cent behind a skatepark for young people. We’ve been working on it for a long time.

“But we must get it right. The skatepark is not just for Christmas, it’s for the next 20 years.”

However, the future of a skatepark in Thetford seems assured because, even if the current site falls through. the £100,000 for the skatepark is ring fenced,

Cllr Nunn said: “I have no doubt a skatepark will be built somewhere in Thetford.”