Clissold Park roller skaters petition for a permanent space
- Credit: Elizabeth Melinek
A Hackney resident is calling for an old Clissold Park paddling pool site to be turned into a space for roller skating.
After seeing roller skaters, skateboarders and wheelchair users "flooding" the tennis courts at Clissold Park during lockdown, Elizabeth Melinek realised there was a need for a permanent space with smooth, flat and well draining tarmac in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington.
She said: "Obviously that was not ideal for the tennis club, but it has shown this overwhelming need for a space."
Tennis players returned to courts on March 29 as Covid restrictions lifted.
Elizabeth launched a petition calling for the transformation of an old Clissold paddling site, after seeing a proposal already under way to change the site's use.
The petition has gained more than 1,500 signatures so far.
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Elizabeth, who started skating with her daughters during lockdown, says skaters have been given a "bad reputation" because they are forced onto illegal spaces.
She added: "Skaters are not bad people they have just got nowhere to go.
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"One thing that the tennis courts have shown is that it is really diverse, basically anyone can skate and it really brings different people together - different ages, backgrounds and abilities.
"I think it should be supported."
Currently council proposals will see a "splash pad" replace the old paddling pool in another part of the park. Plans for the site currently involve rewilding it or turning it into an outdoor gym.
Elizabeth said seeing older people, teenagers, wheelchair users and toddlers sharing space and helping each other to learn to skate has been "beautiful".
"You’ve got this big green tarmac and then all these people doing these amazing tricks. It's wonderful."
Mark Forsyth, chair of Clissold Park User Group, which is working with Hackney council on plans for a replacement facility, added: "We feel it would be wrong for us to openly support any option at this stage, when opinions are still being sought."
To sign the petition calling for a multipurpose roller space rink visit blueblazes.co.uk
To get a have your say on the Clissold Park consultation visit www.consultation.hackney.gov.uk/parks-green-spaces/clissold-consultation