Residents criticise council over ‘dangerous’ bike ramps in Haywards Heath

Bike ramps in Ashenground Woods, Haywards Heath. Picture: Mid Sussex District Council
Bike ramps in Ashenground Woods, Haywards Heath. Picture: Mid Sussex District Council

Outraged residents have hit out at the council over ‘dangerous’ bike ramps in Haywards Heath.

On May 20, Mid Sussex District Council asked people on Facebook to not make bike ramps in Ashenground Woods as digging holes and cutting trees damages the natural habitat and disturbs wildlife, it said.

It added that it ‘creates a dangerous environment for other site users’.

Responding on Facebook, resident Neil Yeats said: “We did it when we were kids so why shouldn’t they do it now!”

Annette King said: “Mid Sussex District Council getting it completely wrong again! Leave the kids alone.”

Ben Luke asked: “Wouldn’t you prefer this rather than anti-social behaviour in a urban area where damage to property costs alot more than digging a hole and having fun?”

And Sam Miller said: “Better then causing trouble.”

Responding to residents’ fury, district councillor John Belsey, cabinet member for environment and service delivery, said: “We are well aware of the strength of feeling from the community regarding kids playing on their bikes in Ashenground and Bolnore Woods.

“We certainly do not want to discourage children from playing outside. However, this location is a Local Nature Reserve and has been designated by Natural England as an area of ancient woodland.

“This designation is vital to the protection of wildlife and their natural habitat.

“Riding in these areas damages the general woodland floor which hosts an abundance of plants and creatures.

“We are simply asking parents and children if they could choose more suitable, less sensitive, locations to ride their bikes, such as the skate park in nearby Tim Farmer recreation ground or Victoria Park in the centre of Haywards Heath.”

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