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Out of Bounds: Why you can’t pitch up to Arbroath’s shiny new £200,000 crazy golf course until spring

The West Links crazy golf course is complete and ready for spring opening. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

Arbroath’s new £200,000 seafront crazy golf course is finished and looking swish.

But it’s out of bounds until spring.

The nine-holer replaces a tired layout at the entrance to the West Links play area.

Angus councillors pumped £212,000 of town centre regeneration fund cash into the project.

But some questioned the scale of the spend and are wondering why it’s not open to visitors.

Arbroath crazy golf
The new crazy golf course is wheelchair accessible. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

Why can’t people play now?

West Links includes several seasonal attractions which shut down every winter.

Those include mini racing cars, a refreshment kiosk, paddling pool – and now the new crazy golf course.

But funding rules meant the course had to be built now rather than waiting until next year.

So despite being complete, it will stay padlocked until Easter 2022 and the re-opening of the seasonal attractions there.

The money for the project came from a Scottish Government fund set up to help councils rejuvenate their towns.

Across Angus, around £1.4 million has been spent on local projects.

Funds were dished out locally on a population basis.

Arbroath received the biggest part of the pot at more than £400,000.

But schemes had to be committed by the end of March and the funds fully spent by the end of September.

Arbroath crazy golf
The attraction is at the entrance to West Links park. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

What the people who spent the money think

Until 2020, West Links was also home to the family-run Kerr’s Miniature Railway.

But its 85-years as a town attraction came to an end after passenger numbers plummeted.

And it is hoped the new crazy golf course will give the park a shot in the arm.

However, the project split opinion when it was agreed.

Supporters said it would be a welcome addition to West Links and be accessible to all visitors including wheelchair users.

But critics questioned the amount it cost and said crazy golf was outdated.

We asked Arbroath councillors what they think of the new course and if they believe it’s value for money.

Council leader David Fairweather said: “The new crazy golf course at West Links is another major attraction for locals and visitors to enjoy and no doubt will be popular with everyone, young and elderly, for many years to come.

“The West Links, after many years of neglect has, over the last 12 years, seen investment that has increased its popularity and made it a must-go destination in the summer period.

“Council officers have assured me we are in the last phase of appointing an operator for the area with a further commitment that all areas of the park and entertainment facilities will be open as usual for Easter 2022.

“I look forward to seeing all enjoy this fantastic multifunction park the West Links has become.”

Brenda Durno previously criticised the cost of the project.

She said: “I had a look at it and the space does look more enhanced.

“It has a more natural feel with the wood and ropes etc. but it’s not very exciting.

“I doubt if people will be raving about it.

“Hopefully it could be advertised as a business opportunity and we can claw the funds back in rent.”

Councillor Derek Wann said: “The new golf course should not be viewed in isolation.

“The West Links is an important recreational area and has seen significant investment over recent years which has paid off in terms of attracting people and families of all ages.

“Crazy golf courses remain popular across the UK and when Councillor Speed asked for more funding to ensure this course is accessible to all I supported it.

“Against a backdrop of delayed projects across public and private sectors due to the pandemic, the course is ready to welcome locals and visitors alike ahead of the new season.

“I am confident an operator will be in place to maintain the success of the West Links”.

Wheelchair swing

Councillor Lois Speed said: “It is crucial that we ensure our outdoor places and spaces are inclusive and meet a diverse range of needs.

“The new crazy golf will be accessible to everyone.

“It will also compliment the newly installed wheelchair swing.

“There are plans for a Mobi-Mat that will enable wheelchair access onto the beach.

“And the paddling pool will also become barrier-free with the installation of a ramp in the new year.”