Plans for a themed mini-golf course in the shadow of several historic monuments should be rejected, according to City of York Council planning officers.
York Mini Golf Ltd want to set up a 12-hole course on Library Lawn, on the grass beside York Explore Library, which would stay in place for seven years.
The holes, including ‘Roman York’ and ‘Chocolate York’, would each have an information board giving details of a particular time in York’s history.
But the reaction from council officers, members of the public and conservation groups has been largely negative, with 67 letters of objection received by the council and just four in support.
The site is part of the historic Mint Yard enclave and is bounded by the ruins of St Leonard’s Hospital and the Roman wall and Multangular Tower.
York Civic Trust said the plan was inappropriate due to its “highly sensitive historic location”, while Yorkshire Gardens Trust said it would be in “totally the wrong place”.
The trust added: “It is a valued space from which to view and appreciate the Roman walls and their full evolutionary history as the city walls from Roman to medieval, the interior of the Multangular Tower and the remains of St Leonard’s Hospital.”
The council’s own landscape architect said: “The binding quality of the lawn would be lost, and the peaceful atmosphere offered by the simple green space, adjacent to the sights and sounds of nature within Museum Gardens, would be vastly diminished.”
Extra library income
According to the council’s report, the positives that would come from the plan would be additional income generation for York Explore Library, a deterrent for anti-social activity and as an educational experience and fun activity for tourists and locals.
One letter to the council said it would be “appropriate for Disneyland or Scarborough Pleasure Beach, not here”, describing it as “a garish tasteless themed playground”.
Another added: “The Museum Gardens (including this space) is the most tranquil and peaceful place in the city. It is enjoyed as such by residents, city centre workers and visitors as a peaceful place to sit, read and picnic and appreciate the historical surrounds. Crazy mini-golf will completely spoil it.”
A third said there was value in keeping some “relatively unknown” places in York.
“Don’t fill every green space with tourist activities,” they urged.
Recommending councillors refuse the scheme, council planners concluded: “The area of existing lawn would no longer be a foil for the surrounding monuments but a focal point, and the activity generated by the commercial visitor attraction would transform the general peace and solitude of the area.
“It would prevent tour guides, and those visiting, to appreciate the monuments at various points within the lawn, nor appreciate the full 360 degree panoramic setting of the space.”
Councillors had been due to make a decision this week, but a decision has been delayed until after the funeral of the Queen.