Hundreds of people have backed a petition urging the council to halt plans to replace Horsham’s wooden skate park with a concrete version.
Caelan Mumford, part of the Horsham Skatepark Heritage Association, created the petition which has been signed by more than 600 people.
He branded Horsham District Council’s plans as ‘ludicrous’. In the petition Caelan said people travel from around the world to use Horsham skate park, whose wood design has ‘always been respectfully adhered to in its two decades of existence’.
He said replacing the skate park with a concrete version instead of wood was like replacing Horsham park with artificial grass.
Caelan added: “We were just all in shock. The new plans are a slap in the face.
“We would not rip out Horsham park and build AstroTurf.
“The community didn’t request a bowl. Didn’t request a concrete park.
“There’s a lot riding on this. It’s just out of nowhere.”
In July the council revealed plans to invest £250,000 in a new concrete skate park, as it was ‘unable to meet the financial demands’ of maintaining the existing wooden park.
But Caelan is urging the council to build the replacement out of wood, which he says has more grip, is cheaper and softer to fall on.
He feared if there was an issue with how the park was built then changing a concrete structure would be expensive and challenging.
Caelan said: “It doesn’t make sense.
“[Horsham is] popular because it’s wood.
“[The park] offers a different aesthetic.
“Horsham has always, always been a transition and flowy ramp based skate park.
“And that’s the attraction, that’s why people go there.”
The replacement park would ‘upset the community’ according to Caelan.
He said if people wanted to ride a concrete park they could go to Crawley or Broadbridge Heath, and that Horsham skate park had been used by professional riders and featured in magazines.
Caelan added: “[Broadbridge Heath is] a very mellow skate park.
“It doesn’t really offer anything for a transition skate park or any one who rides bikes.”
He said the council seemed to have the view ‘there’s no upkeep’ with a concrete park.
In the plans the council said a concrete park would require ‘minimal on-going maintenance and will be less susceptible to damage’.
The council hopes to be installing the project, known as Horsham SkatePark2020, by spring next year and will work closely with renowned local skateborder and director of Skateboard England, Lucy Adams, who the council said was instrumental in developing Broadbridge Heath Park.
In the plans, published in July, the council said: “Representatives from the BMX, skating and scooter communities will also be invited to give their input into the design and features required in Horsham Park to make a facility suitable for all disciplines.”
Horsham District Council has been approached for comment.