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'Putt up or shut up' - new Cromer crazy golf course sparks clifftop rivalry

PUBLISHED: 14:42 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 15 February 2019

Olly Deakin, owner of the Cromer Putting Green, at the clifftop site. Photo: Olly Deakin

Olly Deakin, owner of the Cromer Putting Green, at the clifftop site. Photo: Olly Deakin

Archant

The owner of a golf attraction in a north Norfolk seaside town said his business will be handicapped after the council approved plans for a crazy golf course just metres from his clifftop putting green.

Olly Deakin, owner of Cromer Putting Green and Meadow Road Pitch and Putt, said North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) decision to allow the Runton Road boating pond to be converted into a crazy golf course “baffled” him.

But Victor Gray, owner of the new site, said no one came to the planning meetings to put up a fight against the proposal.

He said: “The boating lake has had a golf course on it for 27 years - I’m just updating it. It has been there an awfully long time.

“For me, this is a £250,000 investment, and no one else is investing this kind of money into Cromer at the moment.”

Mr Gray said the new crazy golf course would be Mr Gray said the new crazy golf course would be "an asset to the town". Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

The application was approved on July 31, 2018 and work began on Monday, February 11, set to be completed in time for Easter.

Mr Deakin, 37, said: “I drove past yesterday and saw all the signs have gone up.

“I don’t understand their mindset. We’ve already got a pitch and putt, we’ve got a putting green and a professional golf course.

“Why have we got a fourth golf attraction in the same town?”

The new kiosk at the putting green. Photo: Olly DeakinThe new kiosk at the putting green. Photo: Olly Deakin

Mr Deakin, a former golfer and greenkeeper added that no one from the council had informed him about the application.

He said: “Why had nobody from the council thought to drop me an email? I just signed a five year lease and I know nothing.

“This is the most secretive planing application I’ve ever heard of. I couldn’t believe it.”

Mr Deakin, from Mundesley, said the new attraction would “massively” affect his business.

He said: “I spent in excess of £15,000 to £20,000 on both sites last year. I lost money because I was unable to have the site open over summer and the school holidays.

“Of course its going to directly impact on my business - it’s a huge development.

“The kids are going to see pirate ships and want to go to the crazy golf course instead.”

Mr Deakin added that he had requested a meeting with the council to discuss his concerns.

Owner Victor Gray said he hoped the attraction would be open in time for Easter. Photo: Jessica Frank-KeyesOwner Victor Gray said he hoped the attraction would be open in time for Easter. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

A spokesperson for NNDC said: “Notice of this particular development proposal was advertised at the location with site notices.

“The notices detailed how members of the public could inspect the application and plans at the council’s website or by visiting the council’s offices in Cromer.

“The council’s development committee approved the application at a public meeting in July 2018 where it was considered that the proposal would enhance the tourist offer in Cromer and would offer some economic benefit to the town.”

‘It’ll be an asset to the town’ - boating lake owner hits back at crazy golf criticism

Cromer Putting Green overlooks the town's famous pier. Photo: Olly DeakinCromer Putting Green overlooks the town's famous pier. Photo: Olly Deakin

The application to convert the boating lake into a crazy golf course was submitted by registered company, The Lawns Leisure Ltd.

Directors Victor and Dayna Gray have owned the Runton Road site for eight years, and operated the Kiddie Land fun fair on the seafront for the past 13 years.

Mr Gray said the new golf course would be an asset to the town and drive tourism.

He said: “It’s going to bring more people into Cromer.

Works started at the Evington Gardens site on Monday, February 11. Photo: Jessica Frank-KeyesWorks started at the Evington Gardens site on Monday, February 11. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

“It won’t affect his business - it will help him, if anything.

“People panic when something new comes up, but you can’t please everybody.”

Mr Gray added: “He should have come to the planning meetings. I went to three and there were no objections - as nobody turned up to them.

“It’ll be an asset to the town and the businesses here.

“People kept asking me where the nearest crazy golf was - why should they go to Yarmouth or Hunstanton when they could keep their money in Cromer? We thought we’d give it a go.”

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