Adventurers may soon be able to ‘Go Ape’ in Leeds after firm submits planning application

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Plans for an aerial adventure course in woods in east Leeds have been submitted to council decision-makers.

The Go Ape high-ropes course is being earmarked for Menagerie Wood in Temple Newsam Park, with initial estimates suggesting it will draw 55,000 people a year.

Go Ape

Go Ape

Proposals to locate the facility at Roundhay Park were scrapped earlier this year after thousands of objections from locals.

But a new planning application lodged with Leeds City Council says the new site will be a “sustainable location” and local transport and infrastructure will have no “significant negative impact”.

It is hoped the course will increase visitor numbers to the wider estate, as well as attracting new investment.

Leeds City Council has conducted an initial consultation to gauge local opinion.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon

And it says that 60 per cent of respondents were supportive of the idea, with 32 per cent against, and eight per cent neutral.

A separate formal public consultation has now opened and will close on September 1.

Launching the new survey, and allaying previously raised concerns, the authority issued a reinforced message that it would “not consider any potential plans for an attraction like Go Ape in Leeds if it would result in any privatisation of a public park”. If the adventure course is given the go-ahead at Menagerie Wood, it will be as part of a lease arrangement, the authority says.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and sustainability, said: “Having assessed the details of the initial public consultation, we have seen overall, a positive response to the potential of a Go Ape attraction opening at Menagerie Wood in Temple Newsam.

“Go Ape have now submitted a formal planning application which will include a formal public consultation process that everyone is welcome to contribute to if they wish.

“Since the idea of such an attraction has been suggested to open in Leeds, we know there have been concerns raised around certain issues.

“This has included the suggestion, that if such an attraction was situated in a public park, it could lead to a potential part-privatising of the green space.

“I want to make it very clear that this is not the case, and we would not consider any proposal that put forward this idea as part of their plans. Lovers of the woodland area can also be assured that if this proposal is given the go-ahead, it will be remain open and accessible to the public for their continued enjoyment.”

Ben Davies, head of business development at Go Ape, added: “We are excited to have submitted a formal planning application to create a Go Ape course at Temple Newsam and we believe it will be a great addition to the area bringing fun and adventure whilst making a positive economic contribution.

“We have already held extensive consultations and we know there is a lot of support from the local community for our Tree Top Adventure course. As well as creating adventures and encouraging people to live life adventurously we are committed to investing in the local economy and creating jobs as well as an exceptional experience that the people of Leeds can be proud of.”

The YEP reported earlier this year that an online petition launched by the Friends of Roundhay Park against plans to put the adventure park in the area had gathered more than 3,000 signatures. The group was worried that locating the zip-wire activity facility there would affect the “unique character of this peaceful corner of the park” and would negatively impact wildlife and local amenities.

The colony of Humboldt penguins in the new Costal Zone at Lotherton Wildlife World. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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