An indoor crazy golf club – set to feature an Amsterdam red light district-themed hole – has been given permission to serve alcohol despite objections from the congregation of a neighbouring church, writes Richard Beecham.
Ghetto Golf, which already has premises in Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle, wanted permission to serve alcohol from 10am-1am at a former disused warehouse in Walter Street, Burley.
But members of the nearby Redeemed Christian Church of God objected to the application, claiming it could cause harm to the congregation’s 80 child members.
Representing Ghetto Golf, Richard Taylor told the meeting:
“We met with police and licensing in September, we showed them the video and we discussed the style of operations.
“We have CCTV, we have Challenge 25 on the door – because this is an adults only place. There would be incidents books, refusals books – all drinks in polycarbonates or plastics.
“As far as the customer profile is concerned, it is everybody – there are charity events, companies, people come with their mates.”
Concerns were raised about the venue due to its other premises featuring risqué props, and Mr Taylor admitted to the meeting that it would include an Amsterdam red light district-themed hole. He said:
“There is tongue in cheek adult humour – it was described to me as Benny Hill for the 2020s. There are also holes based on things like horror films and (1996 film) Trainspotting – it is intentionally to have an edge and to be funny.
“We don’t damage any children – we are a commercial company that operate properly.
“With the greatest of respect, if I am told that is what is happening I would object – but it couldn’t be further from the truth.”
He added the site would create “around 60 new jobs”, and it hoped to be open in October.
The plans had received dozens of letters of objection from the church’s congregation – with many believing granting such permission would lead to crime, disorder and even “endanger the lives” of children who attended church services.
Representing the church, Samuel Obafaiye told the meeting:
“Our entrances are just beside each other. When we moved in in 2010, the place was not occupied as it is now.
“The company that is wanting to come here, we strongly object to. One of the reasons is that we have 80 children under 16 that come to our services each week.
“If they were on other streets away from us, we wouldn’t have any problem, but the property is too close for children to see what they are doing. We felt it would compromise the ability of our trustees to safeguard our children.
“We thought that there should be a regard for this being a place of worship. I am sure that they should not be adjacent to any church or any school.
“We are not only a community of adults, we have little children and teenagers and having this business beside us will have an effect on the children.
“We have already bought the property so it is difficult for us to move than if we were renting.”
He added that the trustees of the church wanted to open a nursery and day care centre, and that the Ghetto Golf development could affect the plans.
“There are properties in Leeds that they can use, but not beside a church. They should give us the recognition of a place of worship – they shouldn’t bring their business to the place near children.”
Mr Taylor responded to Mr Obafaiye’s claims:
“There is a concern about children being able to look in and see what’s happening – that is impossible – there are no windows or opportunities to look in. The objection appears to be proximity and planning-based, rather than a licensing based objection.
“We all know any decision has to be made with real evidence rather than on supposition, guess work and what might happen.”
Mr Taylor confirmed the Ghetto Golf logo would be on a sign outside the building, but nothing more elaborate would adorn the premises.
Following a 20-minute discussion held by the panel in private, chair Coun Andrew Hutchinson gave the panel’s verdict, stating:
“We have listened carefully to the respondents and to the applicant. We are impressed with the professionalism and the business plan brought forward.
“On that basis we have decided the grant the application as requested, and we just hope that maybe they do prove to be good neighbours on both sides.”
A planning application for the new facility was submitted last month. Leeds City Council is yet to decide the application.