01/12 2013. "Your Steyning" magazine seriously misjudges the mood of the Town. We are receiving lots of feed back from our supporters about the latest edition of "Your Steyning". Many have been upset and angered by the sarcastic, sneering tone of the two articles from supporters of the skatepark which the Magazine has chosen to publish. To many the lack of respect for the genuine concerns of those who oppose the skatepark is illuminating and concerning given that the skatepark is supposed to be "self-policing". How can we have confidence that problems will be taken seriously when this attitude lies at the heart of the project?
01/12/2013 Press Release. A democratic mandate for us - with thanks to all our many volunteers who assisted with the distribution of leaflets.
The poll result illuminates starkly the deep split in our community which the skatepark proposals are causing.
In the light of this almost equal division of votes which confirms our opposition mandate, we are now expecting the Parish Council to address the concerns which until now have been dismissed as carping from a “vociferous tiny minority”.
These concerns include the appearance of the skatepark and car park which do not comply with the HDC landscape officer’s recommendations, the noise nuisance which is predicted by two of the UK's leading acoustic experts, and the unworkable management plan.
We also hope that the Wilson Memorial Trust, a Steyning based charity which has offered substantial financial backing to the project, will step in and require these concerns to be addressed now it knows the extent of the opposition from the community it serves so generously.
27/11/2013 The Poll Result
Turn out 32%
No 703 (46.3% of those voting)
Yes 816 (53.7% of those voting)
26 11 2013 The Supporters reach rock bottom. The Supporters' Facebook site has set up a campaign to sabotage our offer of lifts for those who are too infirm to make their own way. They are intending to flood our line with bogus calls. And they accuse us of a lack of integrity. See it here
24 11 2013 The Supporters have commented on our leaflet. Please see our Poll webpage.
24 11 2013 More health and safety concerns at the MPF. If the Parish Council cannot keep the MPF as it is safe, we have grave concerns about its ability to keep an inherently more dangerous skatepark safe.
We have written to SPC regarding the current dangerous state of the MPF which it had refused to do anything about after its condition was reported at the last Playing Fields Committee meeting.
Following the removal of the trim trail equipment some
weeks’ ago the area has been left in a very dangerous condition.
Potentially ankle-twisting holes, and concrete and rusty metal pads obscured by
the grass just a few yards from the football pitch have just been left. An
accident waiting to happen. Particularly
pertinent in the light of the posting below of 22nd November. See our email here and two of the photos here and here
23 11 2013 The Town Poll We are now distributing our leaflet asking residents of Steyning to vote NO! on Wednesday. 4pm to 9pm at the Steyning Centre. If you do not receive a copy of this leaflet, please do let us know. Please take a look at our new Town Poll webpage.
22 11 2013 Health and Safety Concerns. We have long expressed our concerns to the Council that the skatepark plan does not comply with Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents recommendations (and they carry out most inspections on behalf of local authorities and insurers). Today we have had an email from another Steyning resident expressing concerns based on real-life experience. We have passed these concerns on to the Council. Here is what we have said.
21 11 2013 Noise See the post of 27.09 2013 for background. The Council has at last accepted that the noise readings were corrupted by over-enthusiastic supporters of the skatepark who wanted to increase the chances of a planning consent by fooling the planners. They are now redoing the measurements to try to save the Acoustic Dimensions report. As this report is based on a methodology which is obviously flawed this further expenditure of our taxes in trying to get the result the Council wants is inappropriate in our view. The Parish Council is not a commercial developer who might be entitled to put forward any evidence it can obtain which supports its case, it is the custodian of the priceless public asset of the MPF and so we think our community is entitled to expect the Council to seek truly dispassionate and independent expert opinion on the likely noise impact of the skatepark. The future happiness of our community and a great deal of public money is at stake. We offered a month ago to help fund the best report the community could get. We have been ignored and the Council has ploughed on with commissioning new readings even though they will be as open to corruption as the last, and the report will still be as flawed as it ever was in failing to take account of the maximum trick noises and in claiming that absence of complaints for football matches played for 90 minutes in Winter (when most people are indoors with windows shut) indicated that there would be no complaints about a dawn to dusk skatepark throughout the year. See the message we sent the Council setting out all the problems and making our offer, and also today's chaser by clicking here.
18.11 2013 Sport England who are
statutory consultees objected to the loss of pitch space when they were
consulted belatedly by HDC. The skatepark supporters have recently
tried to persuade a change of mind. They accuse us of having misled
Sport England, while doing their best to do so themselves.
The supporters deny that the Strikers had ever wanted a pitch at the top end and claim the area is unsuitable for pitch-based sport. Fortunately we have been able to send Sport Egland the Parish Council Minutes of 23rd October 2012 which prove that this denial is completely untrue. Click here and see para 6.2 which records the Strikers were already playing here, they wanted a larger pitch and they were happy with the slope. We have also sent Sport England photos of the pitch we can all see currently marked out at this location. The skatepark bunding will reach the middle of this pitch.
The supporters mistake the role of Sport England which is not to preserve pitch space for the Strikers, but to protect pitch space for the whole community both now and as its population increases in the future.
To see our latest communication click here.
17 11 2013 Latest Parish Council leaflet . A leaflet from SPC re the poll on 27th November is being delivered to all residents.
- It says the facility will be "larger" than the tarmac strip. That is true. The overall development is nearly SIX times larger than the strip; something the Council has not been keen to acknowledge.
- It claims existing parking facilities. We all know that these are inadequate.
- The plan and leaflet do not make plain that an ancillary car park for disabled will also be located next to the skatepark, further spoiling the view with parked cars.
- It emphasises "good casual surveillance". I.e dog walkers and other users are expected to police the facility in this remote location. Do any relish confronting the users for out-of -hours use or illicit drinking or any other illegal or anti-social activity?
- It claims that existing changing room toilets can be adapted. Note "can be" not "will be". Do they intend doing so or not? There are no drawings of what is intended, nothing in the planning application and there is no budget to build or maintain. The Cricket Club has observed that shared use is impossible for security and child protection reasons.
17 11 2013 A local resident's negative experience of a skatepark in her home town. We have received a very powerful description of the negative effects of a skatepark at a location similar to the MPF. Click here to view. This person has provided name and address but asked us to keep it confidential.
13 11 2013 The Judicial Review. The judicial review has not been defeated; merely postponed to wait and see whether SPC and HDC actually comply with the National Park Statutory duties of conserving and
enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. SPC again tried its tactic of saying that our Vice-Chair's opposition was “vexatious” – a tactic the senior High Court Judge (the former Solicitor General) saw through when he said in his judgment “…I do not regard Mr Campbell as having been in any way vexatious in bringing these judicial reviews. Moreover he does raise an important point regarding the need to take into account these National Park duties . It leads me to say that Horsham District Council will need to address these duties….” - Judge Cranston 13th November 2013
10 10 2013 HDC is reconsidering its refusal to call a poll. We have told them their refusal is unlawful. HDC refused to call the poll, saying that s134 Local Government Act meant it was improper to hold the meeting in a room in a private house. They had both the facts and the law wrong. This is what we have told them and they are now taking further legal advice.
First, the meeting was not held in a "room" as alleged by HDC. It was held outside Toad Lodge and so s134 LGA cannot be relevant.
Second, the section is permissive, not prescriptive, and is concerned with school premises or other premises maintained at public expense which, as a result of this section can be used free of charge. An exclusion to this permissive list does not make the type of venue generally prohibited. The purpose of the provision about a room in a private dwelling is clearly to prevent a meeting being forced on a caretaker or a head teacher who is resident at a school, or some such similar residential occupier at another type of publicly maintained building.
There is nothing in the Act which requires a meeting to be held in a room, let alone anything limiting it to a room owned by the Council or otherwise maintained at public expense.
Third, under para 19(2) of the Schedule to the Act, the signed minutes mean that the meeting is deemed to have been duly convened and held. Only by legal proceedings can the validity of this meeting be challenged and the burden of proof rests on the challenger to prove that it was irregular.
HDC should either call the poll or make application to the court. Failure to arrange the poll within the time limit (which expires soon) will mean HDC has acted unlawfully.
2 10 2013 Parish Council; another untrue statement? Both these statements cannot be true can they?
Statement 1 from Parish Council in response to our criticism of the adequacy of the existing CCTV system on the MPF.
“CCTV: The council believes CCTV equipment will be sufficient but will monitor this to ensure the continued safety and security of the facility………The FoMPF statement that “Enforcement is not practicable given that the CCTV system has already proved itself to be completely ineffective in deterring anti-social behaviour carried out beneath the cameras” is wholly untrue and designed to undermine the credibility of the security already in place. The CCTV has already been successful in identifying a number of incidents which have been followed up by the wardens and/or the police…..”- Letter Parish Council to Horsham Planning Department and committee members 7th February 2013.
Statement 2 from Parish Council, less than two months later, in response to police crime-prevention criticism of the adequacy of the existing CCTV system on the MPF:-
“Steyning Parish Council is aware that the current CCTV camera (which was not originally installed to view the proposed skateboard facility), does not have the ability to adequately view the skateboard area. It has always been our intention to upgrade this camera so that it is fit for purpose and we will seek professional advice on the best solution available”- Letter Parish Council to Horsham Planning Officer 22nd March 2013.
Noteworthy that the police now say the current system is inadequate and so the system is to be upgraded and that the Police also advised the Parish Council at a meeting on 10th August 2011 that the Parish Council "would need to get a domed camera so youths could not identify where it was pointing". Advice the Parish Council ignored. Why?
30 09 2013 Parish Council misleads the public yet again. The Council has put an update on its website and is distributing a leaflet to all homes. Given the controversy the site has generated we think the least the Council should have done is to ensure that the information it gave everyone was accurate and balanced.
The Council's leaflet claims that the skatepark will be “…on the least used part of the MPF on a sloping site that is considered unsuitable for any pitch-based sport; there are existing toilet facilities on site…..”
1 The site is demonstrably NOT "unsuitable for any pitch-based sport". There is a football pitch currently marked out on the very spot. The skatepark would extend across to about the middle of this pitch. Here is the current pitch with the effect of the skatepark superimposed.
2 The only existing toilet facilities are those at the Bowls Club, the Cricket Club and at the changing pavilion. The Council has told the MPF skatepark lobby group that it is referring to the toilets in the changing pavilion. The Cricket Club has already explained to the Council that the use of the existing toilets which are an integral part of the changing rooms would not be possible. Both the security implications and the child protection issues of having the changing rooms and a public lavatory operating simultaneously in the same space are insurmountable. The English Cricket Board criteria make this plain.
29 09 2013 Time for the Parish Council to co-operate with the School? - We have now seen correspondence which goes a long way to explain the School's reluctance to co-operate over the Leisure Centre site. It also records that the skaters themselves thought the Leisure Centre was the best site - which makes us wonder whether those now leading the MPF skatepark lobby ever properly consulted the skaters before they objected to our planning application on the ground of supposed remoteness.
Many of our supporters will have seen former Chair of SPC, Mrs Jackie Campbell's, rude and offensive conduct at Springwells last week and will know that she is currently trying to drum up support for the MPF skatepark which would take skaters away from Fletchers Croft car park, close to her own home. This is the same Mrs Campbell who, along with our 200-mile-away-councillor Devlin, is recorded in the Parish Council's minutes of 19th December 2006 as saying that the MPF was not a suitable site for a skatepark "mainly due to its remote location".
Now it turns out that under this Mrs Jackie Campbell's Chairmanship, the Parish Council so upset the School in December 2008 with conduct described by the School as "crass rudeness of the most offensive kind", that the School both resolved not to allow a skatepark on its land and withdrew from several community based initiatives. See the exchange of correspondence by clicking here.
Also noteworthy that although the MPF supporters now claim that the Leisure Centre site is too remote, in 2008 the skaters themselves wanted the skatepark at the Leisure Centre. See the third paragraph of the Parish Council's undated letter in that bundle which says:-
"At a public meeting arranged by the LAT team involving the skateboarders themselves some time ago, they expressed a preference for the facility to be located adjacent to the Leisure Centre site".
It looks as though the whole community is still suffering from the Council's "crass rudeness" for which it refused to give the School the apology it sought.
We think it is time, now five years have elapsed, for the Parish Council to make peace with the School and, if there is to be a skatepark at all, for everyone to cooperate in allowing it to be built at the only suitable site, next to the Leisure Centre.27 09 2013 Breakthrough on the corrupted noise report? Watch this space! Will the Parish Council at last comply with the unequivocal public assurance it gave that it would not think of going ahead with the MPF skatepark if it did not comply with the usual noise test criteria?
For weeks the Parish Council has REFUSED to meet with us to discuss the witness statement we
hold about the deliberate corruption of the noise report from Acoustic Dimensions. This is the report on which the Parish Council relies to persuade the HDC planners that the skatepark will not be unduly noisy. The Parish Council knows that the planning committee
meeting decision will be invalidated if based on the corrupted AD
report and that the other noise experts say the skatepark cannot comply with the usual noise test criteria.
The witness statement is from one of those who was intimately involved in corrupting the AD noise report. At least one of the individuals now running the pro-skatepark campaign knows all about this - he was personally involved in arranging the corruption says the witness, who has named this person.
At last the Council has now told us it is willing to meet with an intermediary who has seen the witness statement and so, after a year of ignoring our complaints, the Parish Council will no longer be able to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the evidence that the Acoustic Dimensions report cannot be relied upon. It is clear that the only proper course is for the
AD report to be withdrawn from the planning application, leaving the
Council only with its Atkins report which says the noise will be
We have complained ever since the readings were taken that it was obvious that the timing of the Acoustic Dimensions expert's visit had been leaked to the Strikers. In consequence some supporters of the skatepark had induced the Strikers to make as much noise as possible during the game. This is the game used by AD as the baseline noise to which the skatepark is compared.
The Parish Council specifically denied that the timing had been leaked to the Strikers. Click here for the denial (and then two belated and inconsistent admissions) which was made in response to our complaint. This denial was made 3 weeks AFTER the timing HAD been leaked. The Parish Council now admits that it HAD told the Strikers in advance - claiming this was for child protection reasons on the Saturday. Noteworthy that they did not think it necessary to tell anyone on the Friday when he was hanging about in remote corners of the MPF with the same microphone they claim might have been mistaken for camera equipment. No explanation has ever been offered as to why the Parish Council denied that the Strikers had been told and then only admitted the opposite after the denial became unsustainable.
27 09 2013 Compare and Contrast. The Parish Council claims that the skatepark will not interfere with the football pitch at the top end of the MPF. It claims the location of the skatepark has too much of a slope for football. Click here for its latest plan of what the Council intends to build. Note that while this plan purports to show that the skatepark and the football pitch can co-exist, the drawing does not show the relationship of the pitch to the play equipment nor to the fencing about to go up around that. Note also that the pitch shown on the plan at 30m x 40m is the smallest pitch recognised by the FA, namely mini-soccer U7/U8 (5v5).
Only a year ago the Strikers said that this area was suitable for an
under 11's (9v9) pitch at 40m x 70m (the new measurement needed from
next season) and that was what the Council agreed to provide. Click here to see the Parish Council minutes.
27 09 2013 Skatepark Supporters Group shameless. Having stood in a group outside Springwells and intimidated some of our supporters by doing so, a Mr Kelly who claims to speak on their behalf is quoted as saying that the reason they did not come to the adjourned meeting at Toad Lodge - which was only arranged in order to accommodate the large numbers they said they would field - is because they would have been intimidated by us! Nothing to do with the fact that their "large numbers" turned out to be a handful, then.
20 09 2013 Steyning Parish meeting - democracy at last! Despite a last minute attempt by the Skatepark Supporters Group to sabotage the meeting by going behind our backs and trying to persuade Springwells to cancel the booking, the statutory parish meeting called by the Friends of Memorial Playing Field took place on Thursday evening (19th September).
There were 108 members of the Steyning Parish electorate present, plus one member of the general public and one representative of the press.
The SSG refused to engage in the democratic process and boycotted the meeting even though it was adjourned to a large capacity venue which had been arranged nearby in order to accommodate them after they had said they would be fielding large numbers in opposition. The large numbers predicted by the SSG failed to materialise and those who came chose, instead, to stand outside. Judging by the number invited according to the SSG Facebook site (116) and the number who said they were actually coming (9), the “boycott” was more about saving face when their prediction of fielding large numbers turned out to be very wide of the mark.
It seems the SSG does not want to abide by the decision of the meeting either, as we understand that they have now called on HDC and SPC to defy the vote. Our letter to SPC which deals with this can be seen here
Claims by the SSG that the meeting had not been properly advertised and had been arranged at an unsuitable time for those with children are baseless. The law requires that the meeting should be after 6pm, and that it should be advertised for not fewer than seven days by a single notice in a public place. The Friends arranged the meeting for 7pm as that is the earliest time normal Parish Council meetings commence. In addition to giving more than the minimum notice period, we also gave courtesy notice to the Parish Council.
Attempts to agree the wording for the referendum were also spurned by the SSG. The Friends, however, had listened to comments made by the SSG on their Facebook page and so we put to the meeting an amended proposal intended to satisfy any reasonable person.
The amended motion was adopted with an overwhelming vote of
107 in favour,
0 against and
The amended motion was:-
That this Parish Meeting hereby requires that a poll of all Steyning electors be held under Schedule 12, Part III of the Local Government Act 1972 on the following question:-
“Do you want the Parish Council to build a skatepark on the Memorial Playing Field (The Cricket Field)?”
The result of the meeting has been communicated to HDC and to SPC.
We expect the ballot to be arranged in about a month’s time, when the question will be put.
Our community will finally have the opportunity to express its opinion on the skatepark in the traditional democratic way; by a secret ballot overseen by independent scrutineers. Something the Parish Council has resisted for far too long.
14 09 2013. " Noise Abatement Notice" First it was Milton Keynes, now it is Brighton which cannot control the hours of use. Why does SPC think that the MPF will be any different?. Residents near The Level skatepark are complaining that despite signs saying the facility closes at 10.00pm, people continue to use it well into the early hours. PCSOs patrol the area during the day "but at night no one patrols the area with locals claiming that it is used into the early hours by people in their 20s and 30s". We predict the same problems at the MPF where the Council already struggles to control anti-social behaviour after dark from a small minority. Full story at this link
05 09 2013 "Caged and Remote Facility". The supporters of the MPF scheme claim that the alternative LCCP scheme is unsuitable because the fencing will mean it is "caged". Anyone heard of tennis players complaining of being "caged"? Anyway, take a look here at this local lad apparently enjoying himself in a "cage". They also say the LCCP site is "too remote", which is odd given that the School and the Leisure Centre are both there, but even more odd when the Strikers Under 8s team has just chosen to cease using their pitch on the MPF, preferring instead to play at the location the MPF supporters dismiss as unsuitably "remote" for skaters. Incidentally, "about fifty visitors" over two days (as reported in the article) is hardly a ringing endorsement of demand. Echoes the School's planning comment that there is "no student voice" calling for a skatepark. The Herald reporter commented to us that she had needed to "round up" four young people for her photo of the Steyning site, which was noted to have frequently had no visitors present at all. Could it be that the MPF demand is drummed up by a "small and vociferous" minority? Certainly the picnic is going to be no measure of COMMUNITY demand for a skatepark, given the calls to all and sundry via social media and radio and given the additional activities which will draw supporters, opponents and neutral alike.
03 09 2013 Noise nuisance See this link for details of a skatepark in Milton Keynes which was too noisy and so had a noise abatement notice served - as Atkins and Saunders both predict will happen at the MPF. It looks as though Milton Keynes may be saved by acoustic fencing to control the hours of use and to attenuate the noise. Unfenced, the hours could not be controlled and local residents were abused - it has had to have a temporary fence and a security company to open and close pending the acoustic fence - so what will happen when SPC's "management plan" with approved hours of use for the MPF site proves to be an unenforceable and fanciful expression of hope? Neither security nor acoustic fencing wil be possible or appropriate on the MPF for aesthetic and supervisory reasons (neither the Landscape Officer nor the police would find this acceptable). Our alternative LCCP scheme will have acoustic security fencing as part of the design.
30 08 2013 Mr Ashby, former Chairman of SPC has written a baseless letter warning of future tax rises as a result of us trying to hold the Council to proper standards of behaviour (see separate tab about the Council's misconduct). Please take a look at the open letter in response to Mr Ashby at this link. Mr Ashby's most distinctive legacy to the Town is the widely criticised, unused tarmac and concrete roadway for skaters on the MPF which is put forward as one of the main advantages of the skatepark at this location - anything would be better than this blight on the MPF say the supporters of the skatepark project. The only likely tax rise will be to administer and maintain this skatepark facilty - with the requisite, but inadequate, ancillary CCTV already costing more than the Council's predicted annual budget for the whole facility.
Interesting that despite his former chairmanship, Mr Ashby seems not to know the distinction between a parish council power and a parish council duty. His letter to the Herald is plain wrong on the Council's duties - its only duty is to provide allotments. Everything else the Parish Council does is as a result of exercising a power; i.e. it is done as a matter of choice.
26 08 2013 Sport England have objected to the MPF skatepark because it adversely impacts on pitch space which means that if HDC wishes to grant planning permission despite the objection the application must first be referred to the Secretary of State. Despite Sport England saying that this was their firm position, the Strikers have now written to SE seeking a change of heart. The letter the Strikers have sent is here and betrays a misunderstanding of Sport England's duty and policy. It also makes claims about the suitability of the MPF for football which are very different to the comments it made to the Parish Council less than a year ago. Our letter to Sport England refuting the Strikers letter can be seen here.
18.08 2013. More misinformation from MPF supporters. The supporters claim that "a few people have been approached and threatened with litigation. This includes a young adult skater who was sent a 5 page threat of court action". Take a look at the actual letter sent to Mr T here. Two pages (not five), much of which was dealing with information about other matters and with the letter making plain that the only person who had crossed the line into actionable libel was the third party who had received the original version of this letter.
18.08.2013. Toilets - Misinformation. The Parish Council has made four different assertions to the planners about what it intends regarding toilet facilities. It's most recently expressed intention is to enter into discussions with the Cricket Club AFTER planning consent. That is obviously too late and the Club has already described the insurmountable security and child-safeguarding problems which shared use of the pavilion lavatories would cause. In response, the supporters now claim on their Facebook site that the users of the skatepark will use the lavatories in the High Street. Does anyone really think this is credible? What about on the summer evenings when the skatepark will be operating but the lavatories are closed?
18.08.2013. Heritage. Click here to see the poem sent to SPC which we hope will inspire the Councillors when considering their duty of stewardship towards the MPF.
09.08.2013 Open Spaces Society. Click here to view an article in the Summer 2013 edition of the OSS Magazine "Open Space" which covers the MPF Village Green registration and urges the Parish Council to reconsider.
05. 08. 2013 SUMMARY OF PROBLEMS FOR THE PARISH COUNCIL MPF SCHEME
20.07.2013 HOW DID STEYNING BECOME EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY OVER THE SKATEPARK?
The following letter here was sent to one of the key supporters of the MPF site, by the Vice-chairman the FoMPF, Paul Campbell.
It makes very interesting reading and clearly sets out many events which have resulted in the controversy which Steyning is experiencing over the application to build a skatepark on the MPF.
20.07.2013 Please register your support for the new application DC/13/1296 for a skatepark at the Leisure Centre which is now displayed on the HDC Planning Portal web site:
The Planning Officer at Horsham District Council recommended refusal of our original skatepark application at the Leisure Centre.
We withdrew that application and have now submitted the amended design which we had already developed in conjunction with RoSPA and Sport England in anticipation of the expected planning objection, namely that replacing the existing trees with semi-mature replacements in the verge would be unacceptable to the arboricultural officer.
The replacement parking now goes in the “dead” area of the playing field between the long-jump pit and the all-weather pitches.
The facility will be available for public use only outside school hours so that there will be no potential disruption to lessons, and otherwise it will be for the exclusive use of the School if they want to make use of it as part of the games curriculum.
It is essential that you again register your support for the Leisure Centre site for a skatepark with the new application DC/13/1296. You can write to Horsham District Council, Planning Department, Park North, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RL
Letters of support need to be received by 2nd August.
The new application drawing is shown under the Leisure Centre site page.
06.06 13 Our former treasurer Gill Muncey is elected to the Parish Council by 610 votes to 354 on an excellent turnout of over 20% of the electorate. This gives a strong democratic mandate for the LCCP site and against the MPF site.
29.5.13 FoMPF request that the Parish Council withdraw their planning application rather than delay it to show their support for the Leisure Centre site.
23.5.13 This is taken from the Steyning Parish Council website 'The Parish Council had a meeting with Friends of Memorial Playing Field on 23rd May where they presented their latest plans for an alternative Skateboard Facility behind the Leisure Centre and adjacent to the football pitches. As a gesture of goodwill the council’s working group will be recommending to an Extra Ordinary meeting of the Council (to be held in the near future) that the Parish Council delays its Memorial Playing Field planning application until the end of September 2013. This is to give the Friends of Memorial Playing Field time to further develop the plans for their alternative site.'
17.05.2013 The Friends submit a planning application for a skatepark at the Leisure Centre under Horsham planning reference DC/13/0903. See separate tab for details.
13.05.2013 The Parish Council resolve unanimously to reappraise the MPF scheme after three councillors (Barling, Rogers and Hopkinson) indicate that they could no longer pledge support for a skatepark at the MPF. They also resolve to meet with the Friends to discuss the Friends' alternative scheme. The statements made by the councillors are uploaded here.
02.05.13 The vice-chairman of FoMPF submits a judicial review against the decision by Steyning Parish Council to amend their planning application by adding a separate car parking area adjacent to the proposed skatepark. He considers that this decision was not authorised by the Parish Council as a whole, nor by any properly constituted committee, and also was made without considering the impact on the National Park and is therefore unlawful. The judicial review application can be viewed here (Statement of Facts), here (Grounds of Claim) and here(Claim Form).
28.03.13 Still awaiting comments from Horsham District Council's Equalities Officer in relation to wheelchair access to the facility. Currently the plans submitted by Steyning Parish Council are non compliant with the Disabled Access Legislation.
27.03.13 The Landscape Architect for Horsham District Council objects to the visual intrusion of the two disabled parking spaces proposed by Steyning Parish Council. He also objects to the bunding and confirms the Parish Council's visualisations are misleading.
22.03.13 Steyning Parish Council admit the existing CCTV in the MPF is not adequate and an upgrade will be necessary.
20.03.13 Steyning Parish Council state "we will be able to make the existing toilet facilities in the changing rooms next to the police station and cricket club, available to the skateboarders and other users of the field".
13.03.13 Sport England confirm their objection to the facility in the MPF.
08.03.13 FoMPF has produced two new scaled visualisations which reveal the enormous impact of the bunding (earth mounds) that would surround the skatepark if the Steyning Parish Council plan goes ahead. These are shown on the next page.
05.03.13 Horsham District Council has postponed the decision on the Steyning Parish Council planning application to build a skatepark in the Memorial Playing Field. It will not now be made on 19th March 2013 as previously expected.
26.2.13 West Sussex County Council has granted Village Green status to the top half of the Memorial Playing Field, meaning the whole field has a high level of protection against development. The Open Spaces Society has issued a Press Release about this success, read it here.
19.2.13 Alan Saunders Associates Acoustics report is published. This well respected firm was commissioned by The Friends of the MPF to undertake a noise survey of the prevailing background noise climate and subsequently assess the suitability of the site for the skateboard facility in relation to current acoustic standards. The report says:-
The area is currently very quiet – “30 to 35dB.”(p3)
BS4142 will be breached. “The indicated levels would certainly result in complaints from residents.” – page 7
SNL guidance will be breached. “It is very likely that these maximum skateboard noise levels would cause complaints” – page 8
WHO sound levels will be breached in the evening “the Aeq,16h close to the rear facades of the two receptor properties would be approximately 42-43dB(A)” – page 7
The facility “is likely to cause substantial annoyance” (p19)
Read the full report here. The report has been submitted the Horsham District Council who are considering the skatepark planning application on 19th March.
7.2.13 Sport England confirm they are objecting to the revised skatepark scheme
14.1.13 Steyning Parish Council issues a revised scheme for the skatepark, which protrudes even further into the top field and makes any football there impossible. See details here. The FoMPF's own objection letter is here .Objections have to be made to the Planning Department of Horsham District Council by 28th January 2013. FoMPF has issued its own alternative proposal for a site at the Steyning Leisure Centre car park- details here.
21.12.12 Sport England has now formally objected to the planning application by Steyning Parish Council to build a skatepark in the memorial Playing Field. This means either SPC must withdraw the plan, or Horsham District Council must refuse planning permission or it must be referred to the Secretary of State. See their letter here. FoMPF feels this vindicates our long-held view that the MPF is not the right site for the skatepark and that another location must be found.
23.11.12 Sport England is seeking further information about the planning application to build a skatepark in the Memorial Playing Field, and has raised concerns about its likely effect on existing sports. Click to see their 3 page letter here. Sport England ask for more detailed plans of the proposed development and details of Steyning Strikers' needs for additional pitches.
9.11.12 The Friends write to the Governors of Steyning Grammar School, with a detailed plan demonstrating how the skatepark could be accommodated there.The plan can be seen on our webpage about the skatepark proposal.
7.10.12 The Friends pledge to work with the Steyning Strikers Football Club to increase the number of pitches that can be provided on the top of the MPF. Strikers chairman Mike Davies announced at the September meeting of Steyning Parish Council that the Club has been given notice that it will lose the pitches at Lancing College next season, currently used by the Under 11s to Under 14s.
20.9.12 Supporters pictured below celebrating the recent launch of the Friends, as well as the news that the group has applied for Village Green status to be extended to cover the whole Field, under the 2006 Commons Act. In 1974 the bottom half of the field, including the Cricket pitch, was awarded Village Green status and we are seeking to have the same designation applied to the whole of the MPF.