AN emergency meeting is set to take place next week to discuss the proposed closure of Broughton Gate Skate Park.
The parish council is due to hold the meeting on Wednesday night following outcry on the estate over the move.
The popular skate park was opened less than a year ago, but The Parks Trust – which took ownership of the facility in April – announced this week that it should be removed ‘as soon as practically possible.’
It follows complaints from nearby residents about noise at the park. It is now set to be demolished on July 2.
But many residents have moved to voice their support for the facility, with a Facebook page – Saving Broughton Skate Park – having already attracted almost 900 ‘Likes’ and a petition having been signed by 500 people.
And today, local business owners Katrina Creaser and Mark Fitzsimon added their names to the list of skate park supporters.
Mrs Creaser, who runs Squeaks Organic Eatery in Highley Grove, has asked the parish council to support moves to save the park; while Hungry Horse general manager Mr Fitzsimon told the Citizen the park is the perfect antidote to the ‘Playstation nation’ that blights modern Britain.
And, along with a friend Laura Howarth, and her 14-year-old daughter Kyra, Mrs Creaser is even threatening to handcuff herself to railing near the park to stop the demolition.
As well as Kyra, her three other children – Scott, Teddy and Sebbie – all use the skate park.
But she is hoping Wednesday’s meeting will help provide a simpler solution, with one possible answer being the construction of a noise abatement wall that could double as a graffiti wall or climbing frame.
“At the emergency meeting we will be asking if it can be saved or an alternative site found,” she said.
“If you are a proper skateboarder or BMXer it is only a beginners version, but it is somewhere for the children to go.
“The park needed planning permission to be built, so shouldn’t there be the same for the demolition along with a consultation?
“Hopefully everybody will be able to work together to get a solution.”
The petition will also be handed in to the parish council at the meeting, along with questionnaires collected by students at Oakgrove School asking people for their views on the park.
The skate park was also backed by Hungry Horse manager Mr Fitzsimon, who said his two children are regular users.
“It is brilliant for them,” he said.
“Forget the keeping them off the streets it is about the bigger picture. My little lad is three and he now has the confidence to play in the park with older kids.
“If one of the ten or 11 year olds misbehaves or swears, they will be told off by their mates.
“I remember having stuff like that as a kid, but we have become a playstation nation. This gets kids outside again.”
He added that the skate park is a safe environment for all and estimated that around 75 per cent of his customers at The Hungry Horse use it.
“A lot of kids that come into The Hungry Horse to use our play equipment, recognise me from the skate park.
“I am not just Mark the pub manager, but Mark the dad of two kids.
“There is no way this is as black and white as keep it up or knock it down.
“As a rule everyone in MK, including the council, tries to find solutions to problems. I think with discussion that can be the case here.”
And Mr Fitzsimon warned that if the park is removed, kids will find alternative things to do.
He said: “As a business I’m one of the only things in the village now. It needs more as it’s growing, growing, growing.
“These kids are eight, nine, ten now. If the park goes then by the time they are teenagers it is going to be people like me who will have to deal with trouble when they are bored.
“At the moment kids are gaining the confidence to try stuff and stay healthy. I sit there and think, ‘I wouldn’t attempt to do that’ but my little girl, who is nine, does it.
“To close this in Olympic year would be terrible.”
Earlier this week Milton Keynes Council ward member John Bint said the park was planned poorly and installed in the wrong place.
And following a meeting on Tuesday between Milton Keynes Council and the Parks Trust it was decided the park had to close.
Chief executive of the Trust David Foster said: “Our noise consultant felt that there were no practical measures that would guarantee to mitigate noise from the site and the council’s position was that The Parks Trust should remove the skate board park as soon as practically possible.”
But Mrs Creaser said: “The environmental report said children screaming was the main problem, not the grinding on the concrete.
“That problem won’t be solved by destroying the skate park as the kids will still be there.”