Fury on millionaires’ row as council SEIZES crazy golf course loved by Harry and Jamie Redknapp over ‘safety concerns’

A ROW has erupted in one of Britain's poshest postcodes after the council seized and then shut down a crazy golf course.

Sandbanks Crazy Golf in Poole – a favourite of local footy hero residents Harry and Jamie Redknapp – was shuttered over safety fears.

Outgoing operator Tony Unsworth, 70, built the course in 2003 but has now been driven out by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP).

It comes just weeks before the bumper Easter season where thousands pitch up and play the 18-holer in Dorset's exclusive neighbourhood – where houses sell for an average £1.2 million.

The teed-off owner accused officials at the council of making a "power grab" over the crazy golf course after they refused to renew his lease.

The council have taken over the running of the lucrative business to carry out "safety improvements" and promise to reopen it by the summer.

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Mr Unsworth, who ran the attraction with his wife, described the decision as a "kick in the teeth".

He said: "When we decided to build the site we had to fight like hell to get planning permission.

"I've known this was coming but I've been trying to argue with them.

"They see someone who has done nicely out of something and they think 'Oh chuck him out – we'll have that.'"

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Fans of the course in Poole Harbour – which is one of the county's most popular attractions – fear that prices will shoot up when it reopens.

The concerns follow the council takeover of Smuggler's Cove – another crazy golf course in Bournemouth – prices have rocketed since.

While in 2018 the local council took over the running of a popular miniature railway in Poole Park – the trains never ran again.

Vikki Slade, a local councillor and mother-of-four, said she was "horrified" to hear of the closure.

When she asked officials why they chose not to renew Mr Unsworth's lease, she said she was told they had identified the crazy golf as a "commercial opportunity".

She said: "This seems to be about the over-commercialisation of traditional seaside activities.

"It feels like they are exploiting everything they've got to make as much money as they can."

A spokesman for BCP Council said: "The lease agreement to operate the Sandbanks Mini Golf has recently expired, and the decision not to renew was communicated to the outgoing tenant with the appropriate notice period.

"The course will reopen before the main summer season, once some essential safety and improvement works are carried out and will be operated directly by BCP Council.

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"This will provide local tax payers with a financial return and facilitate longer term investment options. Updates of the ongoing works will be posted on site and on the council's social media account."

Harry Redknapp lives in a £10 million house near the course.



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