Needham Market skate park campaigners search for mobile equipment

Skateboarder in the sun
Skateboarder in the sun

A skate park might be coming to Needham Market this summer, if campaigners can locate ‘missing’ mobile equipment.

Youngsters have long called for a skate park in the town – a previous campaign in 2010 was ultimately unsuccessful – and a committee set up last August says it is going ‘great guns’ in its bid.

Needham Market Skate Park Committee hopes to install a mobile skate park in Crowley Park and work with nearby residents, the town council and wider community to ensure it is a suitable location for a permanent facility.

Chairman Paul Staddon said: “If a park was located there we think it would be a part of the community and at the back of the centre of town. That’s why we’re trying to get a mobile park, so we can put it into the area to see how it goes. We want to prove that this is the right area.

“We think this will be a really positive thing for the town. Once we know it is a good location we will be able to apply for funding for a permanent skate park.”

However, although the committee is aware of mobile skate equipment that was historically in use in Suffolk, they have not yet managed to locate it.

Paul said: “We do know there was a mobile skate park and we are trying to track it down. We think it is probably in a famer’s shed somewhere. So we know it is out there, we just don’t know where.”

The committee is made up of 20 members passionate about bringing a skate park to the town. They have collected more than 500 signatures of interest and a youth committee has been formed to ensure young people have a voice.

“We have got the youngsters involved to say what they want for their town. They are our driving force,” said Paul.

“Their feeling is that the facilities currently in the town are for much younger children. From about the ages of eight-nine there’s not much for them to do. If they want to go to a skate park they have to go to Stowmarket or Bury St Edmunds.”

Wendy Marchant, Needham Market district councillor, said Crowley Park seemed to be an ‘obvious’ location, given its existing play facilities.

“The town council is set to discuss it soon, but I think it is happy to try a mobile park there and if nobody finds it a problem then perhaps it could be a good place for a permanent park,” she said. “This is what the youngsters want, so hopefully they will succeed.”

Paul added that the skate park committee was hopeful the mobile park would be found in time to have it in use this spring and summer.

“Our big aim is that when the light is better we will have the mobile skate park in place. We will monitor it and ask the ask people what is good and what is bad and, with the town council, decide the next steps,” he said.