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SOS for Norwich city centre skateboarding site

PUBLISHED: 16:15 18 January 2011

Sam Avery at his skate shop, The Drug Store.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sam Avery at his skate shop, The Drug Store. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

A desperate plea has been issued to owners of derelict land in Norwich to help provide youngsters somewhere to skateboard in the city centre safely without being a menace to others.

Despite the opening of a £300,000 state-of-the art skatepark in Eaton Park last summer there are still frequent complaints about people skateboarding in pedestrianised areas of the city including Hay Hill and Gaol Hill.

And as part of a bid to tackle the problem Julian Foster chairman of the City Centre Safer neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) has called on landowners in the city to offer youngsters somewhere to skate.

Mr Foster said that not everyone is able to easily get to Eaton Park and therefore called for anyone with a piece of land in the city centre to allow youngsters to skateboard on it.

He said: “It happens all over the city, Gaol Hill, Hay Hill - anywhere where there’s a decent slope - and it does cause nuisance and does cause people to make complaints.

“But on the other hand we fully accept as a SNAP panel that youngsters have the right to go out and have a look for a place to skateboard and so all we’re doing is saying lets try and find a place in the city centre which is free and available.

“There are various sites in the city centre which are unused, ready for demolition in some cases, awaiting development, which might be used by youngsters.”

But Mr Foster said there are risks involved in opening them up to skateboarders due to fear that, if accidents were to occur, the site owners might be held to be liable and sued.

Therefore he said he is seeking advice about how to avoid the risk of legal action against landowners should anything like this happen.

Sam Avery, owner of the Drug store skateboarding shop on Pottergate, said: “It sounds like a good idea. Eaton Park is not exactly central and that’s the downside of it which I think people were aware of from the start.

“To get a piece of land that size in the city centre was never really going to happen but if there’s some waste ground in the city I think people would be quite happy to go to that. I know getting to Eaton Park is a bit of an issue for some of the younger ones.”

<t> Do you have a site in the city you might be able to offer skateboarders? If so email julianf.foster@btopenworld.com

<t> What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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