Fatboy Slim responds to criticism over skatepark donation

The Argus: Fatboy Slim is disillusioned about the project Fatboy Slim is disillusioned about the project

Fatboy Slim has spoken out about his £12,000 skatepark donation.

As reported in Monday's paper, the DJ has withdrawn his support for the new facility at Hove Lagoon.

He had given cash to Skate Expectations, the community initiative behind the new park at Hove Lagoon, two years ago.

But he told The Argus he became disillusioned about the project six months ago, after he heard residents were worried it would attract hard-drinking, drug-taking yobs.

He said: "I tried to get Skate Expectations to meet up with the residents and they refused.

"They didn't seem to be listening to the local community.

"I was going down there with my son and people were saying things like 'you're not really welcome here'. I just didn't want to be associated with something people didn't want."

He denied asking for a refund, but said he had asked for his donation to be used for children's play facilities instead. He received a cheque from Skate Expectations yesterday (Weds), and said he has earmarked it for play equipment.

The DJ has come under fire from skaters for changing his mind about the project.

Outreach worker Graeme Reece, from Brighton, said the DJ should be taking positive action rather than simply withdrawing his support.

The 34-year-old said Mr Cook was 'two-faced' because his own events have encouraged hedonistic behaviour.

He said: "I attended his party on the beach where there were lots of people drinking and taking drugs. In fact at most of his gigs you would expect to find people doing all kinds of illicit drugs."

He said residents might feel threatened by a sudden influx of young people to the skate park, but their fears did not necessarily reflect reality, and said hiring security guards to police the area was not a good idea.

He said: "Any young person who skates is likely to be a bit rebellious and they will not react well to a man in a uniform telling them what to do. It would be more effective to employ an adult skateboarder - someone straight-talking who they'd respect and listen to."

Hannah Coombes, a sales assistant at Small Planet Surf Shop on Kingsway, Hove, said outdoor skate parks always become popular hang-outs, and the only solution is to build indoor, paid-for parks.

She said: "If people have paid they are not going to bring a six-pack in with them.

"They've paid to skate not sit around and drink."

Some of the older generation of skaters find the lay-out of the new park frustrating, she added.

She said: "I know they're trying to think of the children, but sometimes you need to provide separate facilities. There are four-year-olds going round it on microscooters and Heelies, which makes it very hard for the older skaters to use it."

What do you think about the facilities at the skate park? Leave your comments below.

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