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Brighton Level's skatepark plans given green light
4:24pm Wednesday 15th August 2012 in News
A controversial skatepark has been given the go-ahead despite thousands of people objecting.
Brighton and Hove City Council applied to move the facilities at The Level as part of a £2.7 million revamp of the area.
Opinion among locals was split with some claiming it would become an important community resource while others questioned the loss of open space.
Last week, the local authority’s planning committee agreed to the proposals in a split vote.
A petition of more than 3,000 signatures was previously presented by the Keep The Level Green group while a further 70 letters of objection were received with most concerned about the loss of open space.
One objector said: “It seems to be a sport subject to fashion, the next generation of youngsters maybe |losing interest leaving use with a pile of concrete.”
However, more than 150 letters supported the plans claiming there had been a skatepark in the area for more than 30 years.
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Skateparks Association said: “The better the facility is the more pride the community will take in preserving it.”
The application is part of a wider restoration of the park including new fountains, public areas and the restoration of two pavilions.
The existing skatepark area will become a sensory garden containing plants of different smells and textures.
It will be moved to the southern quadrant in the undeveloped part of the park, which is bordered by Ditchling Road and Union Road.
The local authority added the western part of the quadrant, which has been a hard surface since the 1960s, will be grassed over.
The council has already secured £150,000 to develop the new area and is seeking an extra £250,000 to fund further phases of its construction.
Work is expected to start by the end of this year.
Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said: “They have been waiting 12 years for a new facility. I think it will be a really great asset for the city.”
Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden said: “I’m slightly torn on this one because of the use of The Level and it may reduce it.
“However, I’m mindful we are in Olympic fever and I can imagine this will be in great demand for young people who want to take up BMXing.”
But Conservative councillor Geoff Wells said: “I don’t want to see this green lung in the centre of Brighton concreted over. If it happened here I fear it could happen in Queen’s Park.”
Labour councillor Les Hamilton said: “I do agree it’s a much better skatepark. But I’ve lived here all my life and been led to believe the Rose Walk separated the amenities from the open space. I don’t want to break the Brighton tradition.”
Editor's note: This article first appeared in the print edition on August 9.