AFTER 70 years of providing entertainment to couples, families and tourists alike, the mini-golf site in Southsea is no more because of a lack of interest from prospective owners.
The site has been developed as an extension of Southsea Common after its previous owners, the team behind Victorious Festival, rescinded their lease earlier this year.
According to James Ralls who is one of festival’s three founders, high running-costs, blocked development plans, and persistent trespassing led to the decision to not continue managing the Southsea Minigolf site at Clarence Parade this year.
He said: ‘We wanted to modernise it – put in a barbecue site and a kids’ play zone.
‘This was blocked by a petition signed by about 70 people.
‘The site brought in about £800 a year, but it cost at least three times as much to run. We had people sneaking in and playing for free. We didn’t want to continue.’
The site has been used as a golfing green since 1948. It was opened for the summer in March and closed last month, according to Dave Roberts, 59, who staffed the site for more than 20 years.
He believes the site’s decline comes from poor promotion.
He said: ‘It’s a waste. In the past we made money hand-over-fist and used to see the same faces year-in, year-out.
‘You’d hear Yorkshire accents, Birmingham accents – accents from all over. We did a roaring trade.
‘No-one knows where it is. The council didn’t promote it very well.’
But Portsmouth City Council is now making the best use of the site, according to Steve Pitt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport.
He said: ‘The fences around the site have been removed and the area formerly used for mini-golf is now open as a public space and part of Southsea Common.
‘Rather than having a fenced-off open space we decided to open it up and we’ve had very good feedback.
‘Our two previous tenants rescinded their leases as they no longer wished to operate the site. In the absence of anyone to run it as a business we wanted to make the best possible use of it.’
People can still enjoy Treasure Island Adventure Golf on Southsea seafront, opposite Clarence Pier.