Retroskate campaign boosted following picture of empty car park

The campaign to save Retroskate from being bulldozed for car park spaces has been galvanised by a ph

The campaign to save Retroskate from being bulldozed for car park spaces has been galvanised by a photograph showing just one car in the existing car park. - Credit: Archant

A campaign to save Retroskate from becoming an extended car park has been boosted after a photograph showing the large number of existing empty spaces was posted online.

Furious skaters are calling on the local authority to abandon any idea of bringing in the bulldozers as it looks to revamp Great Yarmouth’s seafront Marina Centre.

They say the snap taken on a busy Thursday evening when the rink was occupied proves how little-used the current car park is.

And with at least 25,000 views on social media people from across the country are said to be uniting against any move to sweep away the much-loved roller rink - home to the largest artistic club in the country.

Director Donna Wicks said the post shared by Amanda Blyth had started trending online helped by the national skating community and world-class sports people who were passionate about everything the discipline had to offer.

She said the picture had grabbed people’s attention because it starkly illustrated the lunacy of the council’s thinking.

Lowestoft-based operators Sentinel unveiled their plans for a new look Marina Centre in September showing a raft of new gyms and improved facilities but leaving the southern end occupied by Retroskate untouched.

Most Read

The not-for-profit company was asked to prove its place by coming up with a business plan which would help the council reduce a £600,000 subsidy it was paying out every year.

Since then Retroskate has added more clubs with roller hockey and basketball already proving popular.

Under plans to expand its reach it hopes to re-brand the centre as the Retro Arena, hosting much more than roller skating.

While an enlarged rink was still at the heart of its vision the hope would be to add other activities like climbing and archery, Mrs Wicks said.

New three-wheeled karts had already been brought in to provide another leisure pastime and partnerships with schools were being forged.

The council is due to make its decision on the future of the centre in February.

An indoor bowling club is also facing a nail-biting wait to find out if it will be evicted.

Mrs Wicks said the rink was busy seven days a week and that the idea of having more empty space unused on the sea front was appalling.

She understood that 100 more spaces were wanted to cater for the hoped-for influx of people using the improved facilities, including a spa. But Retroskate’s position was that they could be found elsewhere on the site.

“We have done everything we have been asked to do,” she said. “They have the final version of our plan and we are trying to be as proactive as we can. It is just a matter of changing people’s perceptions so they see it as a space rather than as just a rink.”

Retroskate opened in 2009 to much applause, bringing roller skating back to a town which had a fondness and talent for the sport having produced a crop of champions and become famous for its pier-end roller shows.