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Skater says “dangerous” Crawley skate park is too small

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A teenage skateboarder said it was safer to practice in Queens Square than the town’s skate park.

Macaulay Smith, 17, of Windmill Court, West Green, said skating at the park off Southgate Avenue put the young children who use it in danger.

He explained: “There’s a lot of young children that use the skate park.

“It’s a lot more dangerous being there because the young children get in the way and to do a lot of the stuff we do you have to go at high speed so it puts us at risk and them.”

Macaulay, who started skating when he was 12, said of Queens Square: “It’s a lot safer here, there’s been a lot less injuries here than at the skate park and we’ve been skating here for quite a while.”

Macaulay and his friends plan to start a petition for Crawley Borough Council to build a new skate park or make skating in Queens Square safer.

He said: “The size of the park isn’t convenient. It would be much easier if there was an area kids would go.”

He added: “It’s much more cost effective to make this place safer than build a new skate park - it’s one of the ideas in our petition.”

Cllr Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), leader of the borough council, said the council had to weigh up skaters’ needs, public health and safety and the town centre’s economy.

He said: “What we certainly don’t want is lots of fast moving people in an area which is heavily populated.

“Queens Square’s role in trying to rejuvenate the town centre - we cannot stray from that.

“We need to have facilities that mean that on the one hand people with hobbies can pursue those hobbies but without putting a risk other residents, in particular older residents who may have difficulty getting out of the way quickly.”

He commended the youths for raising the issue with the council.

Cllr Lamb said: “I’m really glad to see that young people are getting a petition together - that’s how to engage with democracy.

“They are making their point and making sure the system delivers on what they want.”

He invited the skaters to meet with him to discuss the issue.

He said: “Queens Square is going to change quite a lot in a few months.

“I’m always happy to meet and discuss with people.”

Macaulay said of his hobby: “You can be unique when you skate. No one else will have the same board, do the same things. It just looks different depending who does it.”

 

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