Tyne & Wear

Boy in wheelchair halts West Denton house-building plan

Dylan Kirkley Image copyright Denton and Westerhope Independents
Image caption Dylan Kirkley felt "part of the community" when he could join friends at the skate park, his family said

Plans to build houses have been put on hold after councillors heard they would cover a skate park loved by a boy who uses a wheelchair.

Dylan Kirkby, 7, went with campaigners in West Denton, Newcastle, to deliver a petition to Newcastle City Council.

Residents want the now demolished park rebuilt and the adjoining field returned to use as a football pitch.

Council cabinet member Ged Bell said they would "listen to residents and review our approach" in the new year.

"Whatever the future is for this site, you're right to say, Dylan, that all children, regardless of their background, need somewhere to play," he told the boy, who has spina bifida.

Image copyright Denton and Westerhope Independents
Image caption The council said it decided to demolish the skate park after it was repeatedly damaged by vandals

Campaigners said the loss of the skate park had deprived Dylan of one of the few activities that "makes him feel part of his community".

His mother, Kirstie Kirkley, said he "absolutely adored" the skate park as it allowed him to play with his friends while they were on bikes or scooters and he was in his wheelchair.

"This gives us a bit of a reprieve and some breathing space, so it is good news," she said.

"But the fight is not over and we will continue."

The council had decided to remove the skate park after repeated damage by vandals, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The building plans include 60 homes and a specialist unit for young people in care. Two homes are earmarked for the space occupied by the skate park.

Image caption Seven-year-old Dylan Kirkley went with campaigners to deliver a petition to the council

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