WE WANT our skatepark back.

That is the message from people living in the Hythe area after ramps and other items were removed from a site next door to the village's former police station.

The 18-year-old facility in Jones Lane, Hythe, was dismantled after failing a safety inspection.

Hythe and Dibden Parish Council has vowed to provide youngsters with new amenities including new seating, extra wi-fi and possibly a basketball court.

But campaigners are demanding a new skatepark - and some are even offering to help raise the money.

Hythe publican Leighton O'Hara said: "How can we sit here and allow them to take away the skatepark, which has been used by many children over the years?

"Youngsters don't want to walk along busy roads to get to a skatepark somewhere else."

In a rallying cry to fellow Hythe residents he added: "Come on - stick together and stop this ludicrous decision to take away a great place for youngsters to socialise."

Writing on social media, Louise Rayner said her four-year-old son would be among those hit by the closure of the skatepark.

She said: "My youngest loved going there and sliding down the ramps. We are getting him his first skateboard for Christmas and now he won't have anywhere to use it."

Danny Williams added: "How can you expect young children to respect our community when we treat them with disdain?

"Can anyone tell me how much it would cost to replace the equipment? I will undertake to raise the funds."

But not everyone is unhappy with the parish council's decision to dismantle the skatepark.

Judy Harris cited the noise made by youngsters using the facility, adding: "There are people living near the park who have had little peace over the years."

The closure coincides with plans by McCarthy and Stone to replace the old police station with more than 30 retirement flats, but a company spokesman said there was no connection.

The parish council is vowing to consult youngsters on the future of the skatepark site.

A spokesman said: "The council is listening to the views of all young people on what they'd like to see provided in the space.

"We're also keen to hear from any individual who would welcome an opportunity to provide new facilities."

Parish councillor Mark Clark added: "The equipment had become old and out of date - we had to dismantle it before someone had an accident."