Video: Europe’s first listed skatepark could face closure
PUBLISHED: 17:22 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 15:13 18 November 2014
A skatepark could face closure – just weeks after it was given listed status.
The Rom, in Upper Rainham Road, Hornchurch, which was listed by English Heritage, is under threat as business continues to decline.
John Greenwood, 42, owner of the skatepark said: “No one has come in for the last three days – I haven’t had wages for three months.
“I am struggling to keep this place going all by myself and I am getting absolutely no help from anyone.”
The 8,000m skatepark was built in 1978 and designed by Adrian Rolt and G-Force at the time when skateboarding gripped the nation.
The park has been visited by some of the top professional skateboarders and BMXers in the world, such as Bob Haro, Matt Hoffman and Tony Hawk.
Roger Bowdler, designation director at English Heritage, described the park as “the finest example” of its kind in England, and declared it the first skatepark in Europe and second in the world, to be Grade II listed.
But despite the national press focusing on the success of The Rom, business has not been booming since the announcement.
Mr Greenwood said: “Everyone keeps asking me how great it is that the park has been given this status but it’s not because it’s been completely empty.”
Competition has grown for Mr Greenwood in the last few years, as Havering Council has built four new skateparks in Romford, Harold Hill, Rainham, and Harold Wood.
He said: “There is no reason why people would want to come here, where you have to pay to come in, when you could do it for free somewhere else really close by.
“The status has not helped to bring in any more customers and just because it can’t be knocked down does not mean it can’t be closed down.”