Proposals for a new road-safety park, family cycle trails and a potential new event space on the current Temple Newsam golf course site are set to be discussed by senior councillors next week.
As part of a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on October 16, 2019, members will be given the opportunity to assess the wide-ranging plans, and also consider approving a recommendation that a public consultation be undertaken on the closure of both the 9-hole and 18-hole golf courses at Temple Newsam.
In setting out its future aspirations and vision for the golf site, the council believes the introduction of the new community-focused facilities for people of all ages will provide a boost in visitor numbers to the Temple Newsam estate, and also at the same time help reduce costs to the authority. Over the last decade, user numbers have significantly declined, which has contributed to a net cost to the council of over £200k a year. From 2011-2019, the number of play and play tickets at Temple Newsam has decreased from 19,100 to 6,710, whilst in the same period, the number of season tickets purchased have also reduced from 287 to 116.
Set out in the report includes details for a community cycle scheme which could potentially feature; family cycle trails and walkways; a road safety park; BMX pump-track; shop; café; bike hire and cycling workshops for schools and groups. As part of the family cycle trails, the proposal would seek to incorporate around 8km of trails, which would provide users with the opportunity to enjoy the large and beautiful landscape around the Temple Newsam estate. The road safety park would provide youngsters with a scaled-down model of a road network to learn how to use highways, whilst the introduction of a BMX pump track would provide tailored and challenging terrain for young people to develop their cycling skills. A potential alternative event space further away from residential areas has also been outlined that could also present an opportunity to lessen the impact that some events can have on the visitor hub and local residents.
Complementing the scheme would also be a significant landscape project, the aim of this would be to reflect the original, historic designs by famous landscape architect, Capability Brown. Re-creating the heritage landscape, and making it more accessible to visitors would also tie-in work being undertaken through the Heritage Community Lottery funded ‘Resilience Heritage’ project recently launched at Temple Newsam, to help safeguard the historic aspects of the site. The proposed project would also involve a significant number of new trees being planted.
If approved by executive board, the council will commence a public consultation on the closure of the golf course, and the proposed developments outlined for the golf site. A final decision on the future of the site, will be undertaken later in the year following an assessment of the public consultation. Some elements of the scheme will require planning consent.
For a full copy of the executive board report, please see: https://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s195858/Temple%20Newsam%20Cover%20Report%20041019.pdf
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and active lifestyles, said:
“We are extremely fortunate in the city to have some truly wonderful green spaces and estates such as Temple Newsam that are enjoyed by so many people throughout the year. In these challenging times and continued pressures on budgets, we are continuing to look at ways in which we can manage the delicate balance of maximising and improving the visitor experience, whilst also opening up opportunities for new income and identifying ways to reduce costs.
“Taking all of these factors into account, we have taken the decision to outline to members of the executive board in this report, our aspiration of a new use for the current golf course site at Temple Newsam. Included as part of our vision, is a family cycle trail, BMX pump-track, potential new events space, café and shop, which we believe would be extremely significant and exciting developments that would make full use of the site for people of all ages.
“Setting out the recommendation to consult on the closure of the two golf courses was an extremely difficult one, and not something we have taken lightly. Unfortunately however, we have seen a decline in use over the last 10 years, which has left us as an authority with a yearly net cost of over £200k. This, to put it simply, is unsustainable, and why we have been exploring other options for the site.”
For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office Tel: 0113 37 89170.