Tony Hawk backs bid to save rare Yorkshire halfpipe

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Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk gives support to campaign to save skate ramp in North Yorkshire

The future of a rare halfpipe skate ramp which has garnered international attention is in jeopardy after a project to restore it was halted.

Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and Olympic hopeful Sky Brown have given their support to a campaign to save the ramp in Norton-on-Derwent, North Yorkshire.

But the town council has cancelled a planned new phase of work on the ramp for health and safety reasons.

Hawk has said he "fully backed" the campaign to restore the halfpipe.

The ramp is one of only nine of its kind in the UK and it is the only one in the north of England which is outdoors and free to use.

Image source, Ryan Swain
Image caption,
The ramp in Norton-on-Derwent has been closed to skateboarders due to the need for restoration

In a video message sent to Rescue the Ramp campaigner Ryan Swain prior to councillors voting this week on a second phase of renovations, Mr Hawk said Norton town council should work to help save the ramp.

"I think we need more public skate parks and if those skate parks are deteriorating we need to fix them up, so the council should be helping you," Mr Hawk told campaigners.

Mr Swain, 30, who spearheaded the restoration campaign, said he was "absolutely heartbroken" by the council's eventual decision not to go ahead with the new phase of renovations.

Image source, Ryan Swain
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Campaigners say the ramp in Norton-on-Derwent has been a hub for people to socialise

He said: "We've put our body and souls, everything, into this and it's brought a community that was broken together.

"It's been here for over 20 years and to lose it would be criminal. The skate park as a whole is more than just an action sports facility, it's a hub for all generations for socialising, meeting new friends culture, art and music.

"Without investment we could lose a new generation of users who could have the potential to take their skills to Olympic level."

Image source, Ryan Swain
Image caption,
Volunteers have already carried out work on the ramp in Norton-on Derwent

A community partnership, the Malton and Norton Area Partnership, had already undertaken work on the ramp, including the removal of wooden panels and cleaning up the metal frame ready for the next phase of work.

However, according to the council, a health and safety report said an attendant would have to be on site whenever the ramp was in use, which is something the authority said it could not do.

The council also cited insurance issues as a reason for rejecting the proposal.

Norton Mayor Ann Spencer said: "We are quite willing to have some negotiation with the community group who want to take over if the Fitzwilliam estate, who own the land, agree and we can hand it over to them. We don't want to let people down."

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