The council has claimed that very few people are concerned by the threat to Whitewebbs Park.
As the meeting on 2nd November showed this is not true. Well over 100 people attended, many more have completed the questionnaire.
Things that we can all do:
- Contact your ward councillors by email, letter, twitter and Facebook. Voicing general concern is good but it can be more effective to ask questions about specific issues. A complete list of councillors can be found here https://governance.enfield.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?VW=TABLE&PIC=1&FN=ALPHA
- Examples of specific issues – choose a couple or add your own.
- “at minimum retain present levels of public access” what does this mean in practice? The amount of free car parking, maintenance of paths and bridleways, which areas will we be free to roam over – at present there is freedom to walk all over the meadow area, the woodland and no one objects to wandering around the edge of the golf course provided there is no interference with play.
- Better access for the less able.
- What facilities will be available on 1st April 2020 – café , toilets, parking.
- What criteria are being used to assess bids.
- Will leases automatically end after 25 years and all land revert to being a publicly owned park?
- What facilities will be improved?
- Are there plans to extend leasing to other parks?
- What restrictions have been placed on the amount of “landscaping”?
- What level of “Biodiversity” is being aimed at?
- When election canvassers come to your door, express your concerns about Whitewebbs, ask questions, make it clear that it is an issue.
- Write to the papers, local (Independent and Despatch) and national.
- Write to the Mayor of London expressing concern over the green belt and air quality, mentioning Whitewebbs.
- We are distributing leaflets and posters but you can download, display and distribute your own from the resources on this page. We will be contacting those who attended the meeting to help with the distribution.
- Concerned people have produced their own publicity leaflets and distributed them to neighbouring streets. Great work.
- Download the questionnaire, complete it and by scan or photo return it to email@example.com. The more of these we have, the more we can claim to represent the views of the community.
- We are setting up a petition to the council which we urge you to sign. This should go on line shortly.
- Every time you visit the park, count the number of cars in the car park. Send the figure together with the time and date to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we have evidence to show how important parking is to park usage.
- Do not be put off by people telling you that it is only being “leased”. Lessees are in a very strong position to renew leases. Work on the basis that once it is gone it is gone forever. Cafe leases are very different from leases for a whole park.
- If you hear anything about plans for the Park, contact the campaign at email@example.com. We are especially interested in applications for planning permission.
- Download the information sheets below and keep your neighbours informed.
- The Council has done virtually nothing to publicise this proposal – we all need to make up for this – publicise, publicise, publicise. There are designs below that can be used for your own posters and car stickers. Grateful thanks to Rich Stoney for creating the designs and making them available to the campaign for Whitewebbs.
25th November 2019
Many thanks to everybody who has written to councillors. If you have received a reply it will probably be the now standard one very similar to the one sent to me. I have reproduced it below with my comments added in red.
Cllr Yusuf has asked me to address your concerns. The following has also been published on our website.
The Council has carried out a marketing exercise to assess interest in investing in Whitewebbs to ensure the future viability of the golf course and/or deliver alternative leisure proposals.
Most of the concerns expressed by park users and the community are based upon the content of the marketing material. Apart from the Frank Knight prospectus and the advertisements in the golf business press we have had no concrete information from the Council save for general assurances unsupported by the release of the actual bidding criteria. It did not inspire confidence that the term “inert material” was used. Clearly someone did not show due diligence in the preparation of the marketing literature.
The Council has now received 18 expressions of interest. Our agents are currently assessing these against the criteria.
The proposals include a number that propose retention of golf; some propose reducing the course to 9-holes; some propose adding driving ranges or other complementary facilities.
Other proposals do not include golf but propose other leisure uses and/or re-wilding of the landscape, nature or wildlife reserves and other woodland pursuits.
None of the proposals involve clearing the site to create a landfill as has been suggested by some parties.
Nobody, so far as I am aware, has suggested that the golf course should become a landfill site. Concern that the golf course could have up to 200,000 cubic metres of “inert material” used for “landscaping” did cause major concern. Given the experience of many other golf clubs it is well known that “landscaping” while financially beneficial can have environmental and financial consequences that do not always reflect well upon the various contractors and industries involved.
Some of the proposals would involve the import of soil to remodel the golf course, for example, and as part of our assessment we would consider the scale, suitability and impact of those proposals in the context of delivering a viable and acceptable proposal. Any proposal based simply on importing soil would not be considered acceptable.
1. Had the revised edition of the Knight Frank prospectus not repeated the potential for up to 200,000 cubic metres of material (“soil “ requires a very clear definition) people’s concerns might have been moderated. As it is the Council continues to use this figure in the marketing material and it is easy to show that about 17,000 20 tonne lorry loads could be involved.
2. The inclusion of this figure is a clear indication to potential bidders that proposals involving such a vast amount of material would not be dismissed out of hand by the Council or its planning process – if not why is it there?
3. There is no confidence in the contractors’, developers’ or Council’s ability to monitor effectively the quality and nature of 17,000 20 tonne truckloads of material.
The next stage is to assess the proposals and take planning advice on some of them. We will then go back to bidders (after the General Election in December 2019) with enhanced criteria and a number of additional questions (which we will share openly) to enable them to submit final proposals and for us to eliminate any that do not meet the criteria.
Upon what will the enhanced criteria and additional questions be based? How many park users has the Council consulted? I can produce the records of a very well attended open community meeting and 130 (and rising) detailed survey returns. These are on the website and a copy of the initial results were sent to Councillor Yusuf. I am happy to send you the updated version.
The intention is to draw up a short list. We will engage with members and stakeholders at that stage before selecting a preferred partner.
Please define “stakeholders”.
Any preferred proposal is likely to require planning consent and we will ensure there is wide consultation prior to an application being lodged.
“Wide consultation” requires definition if there is to be confidence in the process.
We will be issuing a more detailed communication following the General Election about the process and how we will engage with residents, no decisions will be made in the meantime.
Mark Bradbury MRICS, FRSA, FIoEE
Director of Property and Economy
There are a number of issues that need to be addressed:
1. The proposed inclusion of the 140 acres of ancient woodland and the meadowland in the leasing proposal. Perhaps more than anything this has puzzled and annoyed the community of park users Note that the community of park users is not just those who visit the park now – it includes people who will use the park in different ways and with varying frequency at different stages in their lives.
2.Access – it is not enough to say that current levels of access will be maintained. The results of the survey indicate the importance given to car parking at Beggars Hollow. People come from all over the Borough to enjoy Whitewebbs Park. (It is a “Metropolitan Park, not a local park) Today, a cold winter Sunday, there were 62 cars in the car park at 4.30 p.m. We are monitoring car park usage. We need to know that free car parking on a sufficient scale will continue if the Council really means to retain current levels of access). We also need to know that we will be free to roam throughout the woodland and the meadow as we do now and that walkers and cyclists can continue to use the tarmac path through the golf course, if current levels of access are to be maintained. (as indicated in various council documents)
3.The suggestion that up to 200,000 cubic metres of material could be used to landscape the golf course. This is your( i.e. L.B.E.) figure not anybody else’s. The current golf course, now nearly 90 years old, blends in well with the landscape. It is rich in flora and a home to many forms of wildlife. The community is rightly concerned about the potential construction traffic, the environmental damage, the diesel fumes, the mess and the congestion on our roads and the climatic impact.
4.Maintenance of facilities. There was very strong support for the provision of good all weather, all user, café facilities in Beggars Hollow. Toilets are also an essential. It should be noted that these facilities are also used by Hilly Fields visitors.