A teenager has launched a campaign to save his local skatepark after it was overlooked in plans for a £15m revamp of Spenborough Leisure Centre.
Jake Butterfield, 17, will meet Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin this weekend to discuss his petition, which has gathered more than 600 signatures in just a couple of weeks.
He says that the bulldozing of the current site would leave a number of young people kicking their heels and would take away an important social hub.
“I don’t think people understand that you get people from all over coming to enjoy the park,” he said, “it’s not just a Cleckheaton thing, people come from all over.
“The council have said that we can just go to the parks, but lots users choose Spenborough as it has so much better build quality than the others.
“You’ll have more than 50 people coming and going throughout the day when the weather is good. There aren’t many public facilities around here that can you can say that for.”
Detractors have claimed the park is a magnet for anti-social behaviour. While Jake agrees some incidents have taken place, he believes the facility’s social importance outweighs that.
“Teenagers will always find ways to get into mischief, whether it be graffiti or whatever. But people have an incorrect view of what goes on down there.
“I started going down there when I was nine. There are guys who learned to ride down there when they were kids who are now taking their kids down there to learn.
“It’s the best facility around and we can’t lose it. If it’s going to be knocked down then we’d like to hear that they’re going to replace it."
Jake has put his case forward to councillor Kath Pinnock (Lib, Cleckheaton), who supported the campaign and encouraged the group to put their case forward at the last of the the face-to-face consultations, taking place this weekend at Mirfield Library.
She also highlighted an alternative option, saying: “Royds Park is being designated as the major play space by the Council with promises of new equipment for all ages. This could easily include a skatepark."