Riders kick up a storm over park closure

James Higgins

James Higgins

A young skater has gained the backing of a local MP in his bid to keep save a park equipment used in his sport from going to the scrap heap.

James Higgins, 19, launched an online petition after Atherton Outdoor Skate Park was demolished by Wigan Council because the ramps were unsafe and neglected.

James now wants to ensure replacement equipment is installed somewhere in Atherton or Hag Fold for young skateboarders and BMX

riders to use.

Mr Green also said he shared the widespread anger in the community that the town hall did not consult residents before clearing the skate park away.

He said: “This is a very well-used skate park visited by many people from across Atherton. For Wigan Council to take it away without prior warning and without speaking to local people is wrong.

“It has left many people wondering if it has anything to do with the fact that the council wants to bulldoze over neighbouring fields for houses and that the skate park was just in the way.

“Atherton residents have had enough taken off them with which is why I’m supporting the campaign to keep a free skate park in the town.”

James has also been backed by Atherton Residents’ Association but the campaigners were warned by Wigan

Council they would have to look at getting funding for new equipment and work out a viable way of maintaining it.

The skate park and its upkeep was funded though a grant to a Hag Fold community group but became neglected after Hesketh Fletcher High School shut down.

Skaters regularly used the park before it was demolished by council staff because of safety fears. Following tests, a number of the park’s ramps were found to be unsafe.