By Jack Goodman
PLANS TO create a treetop obstacle course in a major Leeds park have swung one step closer to completion after councillors voted to approve the idea in principle.
The proposal to develop a Go Ape obstacle course at Roundhay Park was given outline approval by senior councillors last Wednesday – after a sample of 450 people at the park voted 81% in favour earlier this year.
The Go Ape business opened in 2001 and currently only has one Yorkshire complex at Dalby Forest near Pickering. Now the company will be preparing an application for full permission to develop the Leeds site.
Ben Davies, Go Ape’s head of business development, said: “We’ve been developing the proposal with the council, so now that it’s been approved the next step is to consult with the public.
“If that goes well, we’ll be looking at planning permission.”
Thrill seekers will no longer have to travel an hour and a half from Leeds to Dalby, or Buxton in Derbyshire, to experience treetop adventure.
Mr Davies, 38, added: “Everyone we’ve spoken to has been positive. It’s positive for the park and the community – we’re bringing an adventurous activity to Leeds that can be enjoyed by all ages, and it’s going to create more jobs.
“Leeds is a forward looking city and it’s always developing. Hopefully we can be a part of that.”
The plans are part of proposed developments to Roundhay Park, which have already seen improvements to Tropical World – one of the main attractions of the park.
The plans also outline the transformation of ‘Creature Corner’ into a new Aztec temple, as well as introducing new animal species into the Waterfall House.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and sustainability, said: “Our recent investment in Tropical World which has seen visitor numbers rise by 45% compared to pre-development is a great example of what can be achieved by investing in one of our sites to raise the quality, boost income and in the long-term save money for the council.
“In regards to the potential introduction of a Go Ape adventure course, we believe that it will become a very popular addition to Roundhay Park.”
The plans also include improvements to major attractions at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall.
Home Farm at Temple Newsam is expected to have a new café and children’s indoor play area introduced as part of the developments.
There are plans to introduce a ‘Coastal Zone’ at Lotherton Hall’s bird garden – which will include penguins and flamingos.
A new ‘Africa Zone’ is also expected to be developed at the Aberford-based destination, with plans for a mongoose exhibit set in a Masai-themed village.
Roundhay Park is set to further its development this November by hosting Magical Lantern Festival Yorkshire – the biggest Chinese lantern festival in the UK.