A £200,000 upgrade plan for an Angus crazy golf course has been branded as ‘belonging in the 1960s’.
The attraction at Arbroath’s popular West Links is one of the schemes in line for a slice of Town Centre Fund cash from a seven-figure windfall for the area.
District-wide projects were agreed back in 2019, but with the clock rapidly ticking down to the deadline by which the cash must be spent, a call has been made to ditch the crazy golf scheme.
£60,000 has been earmarked for the course at the popular seafront site, which was also home to the famous Kerr’s miniature railway until its 2020 demise, after 85 years and three generations in family hands.
But at least a further £150,000 is needed to revamp the course, prompting a backlash from local councillors at a full meeting of the authority this week.
Arbroath West and Letham SNP member Alex King said: “I’ve seen an awful of these sort of things in my 30 years as a councillor.
“They all start off wonderfully well and they are going to do this, that and the next thing, and at the end of the day most of them don’t do very much.
“The High Street in Arbroath has been tarted up several times.
“Not a single business hardly is interested in doing anything and it was the council that had to spend all the money on various bits and pieces.
“Most of what’s on the list for Arbroath is reasonably worthwhile – whether it will make the difference everybody thinks it might, I doubt it very much.
“But the one thing that does stick in my craw is the West Links crazy golf.
“I do not see when we are spending £212,000. Crazy golf is something of the 1960s.”
Mr King said he would rather see the money spent on improvements to the town’s Signal Tower museum.
“It could be a very significant draw for tourists but it needs a lot of money spent on it.
“Let’s forget about the crazy golf,” he said.
Town centre ‘village green’ proposal
Fellow SNP councillor Brenda Durno added: “I am not happy about this.
“Our town centres have been killed by parking charges and Covid-19 and it is time to rebuild.
“We should be remodelling. We could have housing in the high street and a more village green appearance with specialist shops.
“Money has been made available for the town centre and it’s unacceptable for it to be wasted on a crazy golf project.”
Other local schemes include bike kennels to enhance active travel opportunities and the upgrading of the upper gallery at the town library for display of the tapestry created to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.
Arbroath East and Lunan Independent Lois Speed said: “I guess I’m perhaps looking at this through more optimistic lenses.
“I think there is quite a varied range of projects that are going to be delivered,” she added.
Fellow administration councillor Derek Wann said: “I am conscious of the other members’ position on the crazy golf and wonder if it is something that can be discussed again.
“I don’t see it as a bad project.”
Councillors met to discuss schemes
Finance chief Ian Lorimer said proposed changes must be discussed quickly, to meet the deadline.
“There was a meeting of Arbroath members where the projects were discussed and I thought we had more or less agreed a way forward,” he said.
“If the view is that another meeting is required it would have to be organised very quickly because we do have to have the projects legally committed within the next seven weeks.”
Other Angus schemes which will benefit from the fund include the creation of a rock and roll museum in Kirriemuir, tourist and heritage trail apps, town centre clean-ups and upgraded CCTV.