NORTON Town Council has said the ‘door is open’ to discuss the future of the town’s iconic half-pipe skate ramp.

A heated meeting on Monday evening saw councillors vote against proposals for the ramp to be refurbished by volunteers, which led supporters of the bid to walk out of the meeting in “disgust and incredulity” over the decision.

However, Mayor of Norton Cllr Anne Spencer said the decision had been made on professional Health and Safety advice which had indicated that full-time supervision was required for those using the half-pipe.

She said: “Our intention had never been to close the skate park, when Malton Town Council pulled out of funding last year we agreed to take on the park and run it ourselves.

“At no time did we ever contemplate closing it. The skate park is an asset to the town and a fantastic facility for our youngsters, it is the half-pipe that is the question.”

Cllr Spencer said that they had offered #RescueTheRamp supporters the opportunity to relocate the half-pipe, with financial support from the council and to take responsibility for it or for a community group to take on the whole lease for the site, again with support.

“Our door is still open and the offers are there.”

Ryan Swain, who led the campaign, said: “Having put my heart and soul into this campaign, I am devastated. The town council has failed this community and the young people who live here.”

Norton town and district councillor Di Keal, who supported the campaign, said: “The decision by a majority of members to turn their backs on our young people has made me ashamed to be a member of Norton town council.

“It has let them down and thrown hard work and commitment back in the faces of volunteers in our community, including well respected local businesses and members of Malton, Norton & District Lions Club.

“The council was presented with a credible, funded plan, that would not have cost it a penny and they voted it down. It is an absolutely unbelievable decision.

“This was a shameful display of the council being given a menu of misinformation and scaremongering, which fed the fears of councillors who chose to ignore the wishes of local people.”

Councillor Martin Brampton, chair of the Malton and Norton Area Partnership (MNAP), which delivered Phase One of the project, completing initial work on the half-pipe, said: “It is hugely disappointing that Norton town council has rejected MNAP’s proposal to renew a valued community asset at no cost to the council.

“Exaggerated accounts of risk were allowed to trump community interest and to deny local youngsters a landmark skating facility.”

James Lindenberg, who has been instrumental in bringing together local business support for the project, said: “In a very year that skateboarding makes its Olympic debut I am shocked and saddened that some members of Norton Town Council cannot see the value of the half-pipe to young people in this town. Once refurbished the half-pipe would attract skaters from all of the country.”