Action for Whitewebbs 2023

Friends of Whitewebbs survey – online version

Update on the legal Action

As reported elsewhere on this site we were successful in raising the £18,000 needed to launch the campaign for Judicial Review. The first stage, which is seeking permission for Judicial Review from the High Court, involved a huge amount of legal preparatory work.

I am very happy to report that the High Court has found that ” The Claimant has raised arguable grounds which merit consideration at a full hearing.” which means that we now have permission for a full Judicial Review and are preparing for that.

The Judge has also decided that “I am satisfied that this is an Aarhus Convention claim…”. This means that should the other side win there will be a limit to the costs. As there is a Defendant (London Borough of Enfield) and an Interested Party (Tottenham Hotspur Ltd) costs will not exceed £10,000. The intention, however, is to win. It should be noted that there is a possibility that the Defendant/ Interested Party could appeal this decision omn costs

The case will probably go to the High Court early next year and the next round of fundraising will start as soon as we have the details.

Many thanks to all who have supported this legal action.

Unfortunately we now have no alternative but to seek a Judicial Review if we are to protect our park – To do this we need your help with funding

We have tried arguments
We have written letters
We have voted
We have protested
We have petitioned
We have been ignored

Now we have to go to Law!
To do this we need Funds

It is vital that we protect this and other areas of open space for all the people of Enfield.  COVID demonstrated the value of open space to our mental and physical well being.

THFC is part of a multi billion offshore corporation well able to afford facilities in more appropriate locations.  Enfield Council is selling Whitewebbs off for a pittance,  subsidising  the ultra wealthy  with  our open space.

Enfield Council has ignored all our appeals for meaningful consultation on the future of Whitewebbs Park.

The land was bought for the people of Enfield to use  as public open space and for public recreation back in 1931.

Whitewebbs is a valuable asset to the environment with its ancient woodland,  bats, birdlife, animals, wild flowers, mature trees, natural rewilding and its biodiversity.

This area will be excavated and flattened for astroturf and plastic reinforced pitches

The plan to lease it to Tottenham Hotspur will result in massive construction work,  the  replacement of grassland and mature trees with two plastic pitches and acres  of plastic reinforced  pitches.

It will also restrict public access to  a large (and increasing) area.
After seeking experienced legal opinion we believe Enfield’s plan is unlawful.

How to  contribute—the short version, see below for more details

We are aiming to raise about £40,000. Our immediate need is for £18,000 to get the legal process started. Click this link which will take you to our page on the site

Decide how much you want to give, click the “Pledge Now” button.
Click one of the standard amounts or enter the amount manually.

At this stage you are making a pledge. The money will only be collected if the target is reached (£18,000 at this stage)

If you cannot donate online get together with friends who can. Alternatively we will announce collection times for cash at the café in the park.  You will receive a    receipt. Authorised collectors will be identified.

This is the more detailed version – it contains important information about the fundraising. Please read it.

The Council’s proposal
The proposal is to lease approx. 60% of the park (the old golf course, the lake area and some woodland) to ENIC /THFC. This would end nearly 100 years of the Park being public trust land bought as open space for the people of Enfield.
We do not have details of what THFC plan to do – we have not seen the planning application or a draft of the terms of the lease. Only a mess of uncoordinated statements from the Council and some vague “indicative proposals” from ENIC /THFC have been issued.
There is an underlying question THFC wants 40 acres for their plastic and plastic-reinforced pitches, so why do they want control of an additional 100 acres of our public open space? Under this plan THFC will have control of all entrances and car parks.
The supporters of Whitewebbs Park have been working with CPRE London, Enfield RoadWatch and the Friends of Whitewebbs since summer 2021 to object to Enfield Council’s proposal to dispose of about 60% of Whitewebbs Park to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. We have told Enfield Council that the Park should be used for public recreation only. Sadly, they have not listened. There has been no meaningful consultation, petitions have been ignored, protests and letters have been dismissed.
Thanks to generous donations totalling £2,664 from local residents we were able to seek legal advice. Following that advice CPRE London, Enfield RoadWatch and the Friends of Whitewebbs wrote to Enfield Council setting out why the whole proposal is unlawful.
Copies of the letters to and from the Council have been displayed and can be seen on (see below and Action for Whitewebbs 2022)
Unfortunately, Enfield Council has not backed down and has proceeded to advertise its intention to dispose of part of Whitewebbs Park by publishing a proposed “agreement to lease”. Councillors and local MPs received hundreds of objections. The Council , for whatever reasons seems determined to continue with their proposal.
Legal Action
The next step is to take legal action to protect our open space. For legal and technical reasons, an individual closely associated with the campaign is best placed to do this. My name is Sean Wilkinson, I am chair of the Friends of Whitewebbs and have been working with the campaign since 2019. I am prepared to take the legal case. Community support has been strong throughout the campaign which has received valuable support from the team at CPRE London. We have the services of a first rate barrister ,very experienced in this area of law. The legal work is being done at a concessionary rate.

Legal work, even at a concessionary rate, is not cheap and the estimated cost for legal work is £23,500 plus VAT – yes VAT is payable on barrister’s fees. A margin for additional work, say 10%, and provision to cover any liability to pay the other side’s costs is needed. The aim is to raise £40,000. Initially, the target is £18,000 to get the case started and apply for permission to bring a judicial review at the High Court. Please keep the £40,000 in mind as the overall target.
It must be made clear, there is a risk in taking legal action and a favourable result cannot be guaranteed. I believe that there is a good case to be made that the Park should remain fully public. Cases are complex -read the 40 page judgment on the recently decided Shrewsbury case, which was a fantastic victory for public open space: ref for a link.)

Victory cannot be guaranteed but we must try for the sake of our park and future generations. Sharing the cost will make this possible.
Costs – protection from costs will be sought under the provisions of the Aarhus Convention. This Convention is designed to secure access to justice in environmental matters. The Court will be asked to cap liability for the other side’s costs at £5000. Unfortunately both THFC and Enfield Council may try and defend the case, raising the amount of potential costs involved. The funds needed to cover this liability are included within the fundraising target.
Fund raising
To keep arrangements manageable, efficient and transparent will be used to collect the funds. It is a well-established crowdfunding scheme specifically designed for legal cases. Please check out their website
How it works

  1. Supporters pledge an amount online to the Whitewebbs fund with Crowdjustice using this link
  2. When the target amount (Initially £18000) is reached Crowdjustice collects the money from the debit and credit cards and.payment is then made directly to the lawyers. Crowdjustice will continue to collect to the £40,000 figure
    No money will be collected until the initial target is met.
    Crowdjustice does charge fees but these are reasonable, they do all the admin work and ensure that data and other legal requirements are met.
  3. Facilities will be available for those who prefer to make cash donations at the park. See posters and web site for details.
  4. If there is a sum left over this can be transferred to a similar nominated cause or retained for further action on behalf of Whitewebbs..

Letters to Enfield Council

Letters from Enfield Council

The Council took a long time to respond to our letter of 3rd November which was based on the legal opinion received. see for this letter and the press release.