By Jonny Whitfield
Visitors to South Leeds Golf Club have backed the renovation of a nearby park after plans for its makeover were approved by Leeds City Council.
Middleton Park, which shut down nearly three years ago due to rising maintenance costs, is set to be transformed into Leeds Urban Bike Park and will feature family-friendly bike routes as well as competition-grade trails for advanced cyclists.
A cafe will also be built on the site as the area looks to ensure its two million annual visitors continue to support the development of the park.
Sean Courtney, a 60-year-old regular at South Leeds Golf Club, disagreed with the plans. He said: “I’m not happy with [the move] at all – the park was serving a good purpose and it should have been kept running.”
But Courtney appreciated the benefits the new park will bring to local communities. He added: “I think it is a good idea that they are going to spend some money and do it up – it’s better than leaving the area derelict.”
Leeds City Council have teamed up with British Cycling and Sport England to introduce the initiative, which will cost a total of £1.2m.
Educational facilities will also be set up to coach and train cycling enthusiasts, while other factors such as accessibility have been taken into account as the authorities look to build a separate car park for the community hub.
Colin Thorpe, a 70-year-old keen golfer at South Leeds Golf Club praised the move. He said: “I think it will be a good thing for the area because they get a lot of damages on the greens.”
He continued: “There’s a lot of locals here with mountain bikes and I think it will be really good.”