COUNCIL chiefs in Leeds have said Roundhay Park will not now be considered as a potential location for a Go Ape high wire adventure course following thousands of objections.
Leeds City Council today said the decision not to proceed was made after further research and listening to comments expressed during a recent public consultation
Go Ape wanted to create aerial zip wires and treetop rope climbing in the Ram Wood area of the park.
An online petition launched by the Friends of Roundhay Park which opposed the proposals had gathered more than 3,000 signatures.
A statement on the Friends of Roundhay Park website read: “We believe the proposed installation will destroy the unique character of this peaceful corner of the park and will constitute a significant loss of amenity. "Ram Wood and the adjacent lake also provide a haven for a huge variety of wildlife which will be severely affected by the proposal.”
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said today: "This follows the council and Go Ape both agreeing that there were issues which would be difficult to mitigate if Roundhay Park were to host such a concession, after the results of wider analytical work and those from the public consultation which saw a majority of respondents state their objection to the proposal.
"While the council will therefore be excluding Roundhay Park as an option moving forward, the authority has also acknowledged that there is strong evidence of support for such an attraction opening in the city. With that in mind, the council will now work with Go Ape to identify and assess other potential sites that could become a home for such an attraction in the future.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and sustainability, said “We were extremely keen from the very start that the public should be able to have their say on the idea of a high ropes adventure course at Roundhay Park and this was why we launched a public consultation. We have listened very closely to the views that were expressed.
“It became very clear to us through the consultation that both lovers of Roundhay Park and some local residents in the area did have concerns regarding this proposal. Taking this and other factors into account highlighted through further wider studies that were undertaken the council has agreed that Roundhay Park will not be put forward as a future site option for this type of attraction.
“We have at the same time also recognised that there were people who contributed to the consultation who supported the idea of a facility opening in Leeds. We have therefore decided to explore alternative locations that may be more suited to host this type of attraction. I would really love to see a high ropes adventure course open in our city but only if we can find the right location for it.”
Ben Davies, head of business development at Go Ape, said: “We receive numerous requests from customers who have enjoyed Go Ape elsewhere, asking us to open in Leeds, nearer to where they live. We are keen to be able to do so, creating 35 jobs, investing £300,000 in the community and delivering a sustainable and environmentally friendly revenue stream to be reinvested back into our partner parks.
“As part of our consultation in Roundhay Park, we are encouraged by the large volume of support we continue to receive for bringing Go Ape Tree Top Adventure courses to the area, and that the council is supportive of our search for the right site. As part of our normal procedures, we carried out an independent review of all aspects of our proposals for Roundhay Park, and have concluded that we should widen our search for the best possible location within the Leeds area.
“Go Ape is about creating adventures and encouraging people to live life adventurously and we look forward to finding the right location for all concerned within the Leeds area.”