The council is running a six-week consultation on whether to replace the nine-hole pitch and putt golf course with a pump track, which cyclists and scooter riders navigate using the natural bumps and bends in the land to generate momentum.
The track, which would take up 2,000 square metres, would be free to use and provide an additional activity for children aged up to 10.
Karl Battersby, the council’s corporate director for environment, said:
“We are running a six-week consultation to see what people think of the idea of a free of charge compressed hardcore beginner’s pump track as an addition to our popular Valley Gardens.
“The track proposed would have gentle slopes, curves and bumps, be accessible all year, and replace the existing nine-hole pitch and putt golf course.”
‘Significant drop’ in golfing
The track would signal the end of pitch and putt in Valley Gardens.
Mr Battersby said:
“The decision to look at closing the golf course has been made for numerous reasons including a significant drop in people using it over the last 10 years, despite attempts to increase popularity by reducing it from 18 holes to nine, introducing season tickets and working with schools.
“Equally, unpredictable weather and natural springs creates sloping wet land making it unsuitable for golf for a large portion of the year.
“We do not want to close an activity in the gardens without replacing it and a pump track would lend itself to the existing slopes and bumps in this area. We are always looking to enhance our parks and the proposed track would also work alongside promoting nature and wildlife as we would also plant more trees and longer grass areas.
“If there is support we hope the track, which would be installed the council’s parks team, could be in place by April next year.”
Cllr Sam Gibbs, a Conservative who represents Valley Gardens and Central Harrogate on the council, welcomed the proposal.
“I’m supportive of schemes that bring more visitors into the Valley Gardens and supportive of activities for young people.
“I’m also keen the views of other local people, community groups, such as the Friends of Valley Gardens and others who use the park on a regular basis are taken into account and have encouraged many to take part in the consultation.
“From speaking with people in the gardens, most seemed supportive. Nobody I spoke to used the golf facilities although some did raise concerns around safety of participants and whether the area would be fenced off.”
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