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A proposed mini golf course in the historic city of York has raised over 60 objections. Planning documents reveal a scheme to build the course in the city centre with 12 holes, “each with its own historic reference and focus.” The plan, submitted to the council by York Mini Golf Ltd, would see the course stand close to York Explore Library, the Roman wall and Multangular Tower for seven years to attract tourists to a historic part of the city. It would also see a section of the ruins of St Leonard’s Hospital, thought to have been the largest medieval hospital in northern England, used as a ticket office.
However, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. One objector, Gavin Baddeley, said: “Dropping a novelty golf course on this feels little short of vandalism. The stag and hen parties that plague York at weekends will be drawn to this kind of silly activity like magnets.” Elsewhere, tour guide John Willets said in a statement to the council: “People travel to York for a history fix, not to play crazy golf.” The backlash continued with York Civic Trust, who called the idea “inappropriate” due to its “sensitive historic location and value as a secluded green space in the centre of York”. Meanwhile, another objector, Holly Robinson, expressed concerns about having a mini golf course so close to the library windows. She wrote: “Yes, crazy golf is a horizontal version of golf, but I think we can all agree that not everyone will keep the ball on the ground. How about a tennis court in the Minster instead?”
York attracts tourists worldwide thanks to its many areas of historical significance. These include its ancient streets, impressive Minster and famous chocolate factories. However, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the themed holes would reflect these elements, including “Roman York”, “Viking York” and “Chocolate York”. Meanwhile, each hole would have an information board detailing periods of York’s history. As a result, the proposal has some support, too, with English Heritage saying it offers a “chance to interpret York’s history to a different audience”.
There are broader benefits of mini golf, too, including its family friendly nature and ability to offer a route into the sport for many who otherwise may never take up the game. Meanwhile, York Mini Golf Ltd outlined the specific benefits of its proposed course in its application. The company cited wheelchair accessibility and greater footfall to the library and café as advantages of the scheme. The firm added: “It represents a low-key and low-impact use, which will bring people into a richly historic part of York which is often ignored and unappreciated by visitors to the city.”
However, with the controversy set to rumble on, Guildhall ward councillor Janet Looker has asked for a planning committee to scrutinise the application.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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