Victory for skateboarders in Malton after council backtracks on proposals to close North's biggest and only free-to-use half pipe

A 'heritage' skateboarding half pipe which is the only of its kind in the North of England has been saved after a battle between campaigners and the council.

Skateboarder Ryan Swain, pictured at Malton skate park

The half pipe at Malton Skate Park in North Yorkshire was at risk of being torn down due to Norton Town Council needing to secure funds for its maintenance, with councillors describing it as a "financial liability".

But a campaign spearheaded by local resident and skateboarder Ryan Swain caught the attention of world famous professional Tony Hawk and has successfully persuaded councillors to keep it open.

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The ramp, which opened 20 years ago this year, is thought to be the country's largest, and is the only one in the North and just one of 10 in the country which is free to use.

Mr Swain described it as a "piece of heritage" in the skateboarding world, of which "Yorkshire should be proud".

Following a lengthy meeting on Monday, Norton Town Council which oversees the maintenance of the skate park, decided to pass the half pipe's upkeep onto the community through a project under its Malton and Norton Area Partnership scheme.

Mr Swain, 35, a DJ for York Mix radio station, said he was "overwhelmed" by the levels of support for his campaign to save the ramp, which he said was "the only thing left in Ryedale for young people to do that is free to use".

"This half pipe is the only one left standing in the whole of the North that publicly accessible," he said.

"For the first time the council has agreed to let the community lead the way in terms of maintaining the skate park."

Plans are now in place to remove the scaffolding currently cladding the disused ramp, with talks in place to re-deck it with wood from a specialist skateboard ramp manufacturers.

"We are still waiting for the plans to be drawn up, but once we get the green light we can look at getting people in to fully refurbish it," Mr Swain added.

The decision has come at a good time, as skateboarding this year is to be officially recognised as a competitive sport by the Tokyo Olympics, due to be held later this summer.

Sky Brown, who will be Team GB's youngest athlete to compete in the games in Tokyo this summer at just 12-years-old, is one of the many who have lent their backing to the campaign, Mr Swain has said.

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