This is the text from the prospectus “Whitewebbs Park Golf Course and adjacent land ……….. To Let: Commercial development opportunity.”
N.B. The “Adjacent Land” referred to is the non golf area of Whitewebbs Park i.e. the 100 acres of woodland and bridleway.
Whitewebbs and the adjacent land represents an exciting commercial opportunity to reinvent a popular golf course.
Designed by J H Taylor, the golf course opened in 1932 as an 18 hole municipal golf course with clubhouse and practice facilities. Adjacent to the course is extensive woodland and grassland which can be incorporated as part of a wider range of leisure activities. In total the area extends to approximately 241.58 acres (97.8 hectares).
The London Borough of Enfield (LBE) have flexibility over the future of the property, wishing to see a proposal that meets their vision of benefitting the local community. They will consider a range of golf and non-golf uses including inert landscaping schemes to assist with redevelopment if appropriate. To assist with achieving their vision, LBE is willing to consider splitting the property into smaller lettings if the outcome will be a better result for the Council and users of the property. Alternatively, the Council will accept consortium bids if this will provide the range of activities they hope to see on site.
The Council is seeking to rejuvenate and possibly reinvent Whitewebbs Golf Course and adjacent land to the benefit of local residents. The area is a popular destination for a range of people, who use the site not only for golf. For example, the property is used by The Friends of Whitewebbs Park, the local running club, cyclists and by walkers enjoying the woods and café. With the proximity of the property to Enfield, and the existing Toby Carvery restaurant adjacent, the Council wish to enhance the existing leisure use for the benefit of the local community. The Council is seeking creative proposals that, subject to planning and planning policy, will seek to protect and boost this popular open space. Having consulted with local community groups and stakeholders, the Council wish for applicants to demonstrate the following in their tenders:
Retention or enhancement of public access
There are a number of footpaths and permissive footpaths running through the property, mostly through the woodland area. LBE is seeking a tender proposal that will, at a minimum, retain this level of public access. The maintenance of these permissive paths will be the responsibility of the tenant.
The Council wishes to see continuing positive community engagement between local stakeholders and community groups and new tenants. All submissions should describe their approach to local community engagement.
Maintenance of woodland and open areas
The existing woodland, and golf course, provides an important habitat and open space for wildlife and local residents. Applicants are asked to demonstrate how these areas will be maintained, and potentially enhanced, to improve the biodiversity through further planting or more active management of the wood and grassland areas included within any proposal.
Range of activities
There are already a range of existing leisure uses at the property, predominately with the pay and play golf course. LBE is seeking a tenant who provides a business plan that incorporates a range of activities. Some potential activities suggested by the local community are included later in this documentation. Within the leisure proposals, LBE require applicants to demonstrate how the proposed activities will be open to a range of users.
Provision of refreshments and welfare facilities
At present there is a mobile café serving refreshments at the southern clubhouse. In addition, there are some welfare facilities at the northern clubhouse. All submissions must demonstrate how the availability of refreshments and welfare facilities will be provided to visitors to the park and golf course.
Whitewebbs Golf Course is well situated to engage with a large audience. The property is located between Enfield town centre (2 miles south) and the M25, with Junction 25 of the M25 (A10) approximately 1.8 miles to the north east. Benefitting from two main road entrances, from Whitewebbs Road and Clay Hill via Beggars Hollow, the property is easily accessible from the M25 and A10. The shop and café to the north of the site can be accessed from foot from Crews Hill Station in 30 minutes (1.6 miles), or the southern clubhouse is within a 20 minute walk from Gordan Hill Station (1.1 miles), making the property accessible without cars.
Data from 2017 estimates a population of 490,088 within a 15 minute drive of Whitewebbs, increasing to 2,773,553 people within a 30 minute drive. The Experian Area profile also highlights Mosaic groups within the 15 and 30 minute catchments. A full description of the Experian Mosaic groups is available on the data room. The Experian data demonstrates that within 30 minutes of Whitewebbs Golf Course there are almost 130,000 households classified as ‘City Prosperity’, closely followed by almost 120,000 ‘Domestic Success’ households.
Currently there are two golf clubhouses on site as shown on the site plan. Originally, the main clubhouse was on the southern side (the Beggars Hollow end), and in this location is the private clubhouse used the members of Whitewebbs Golf Club, a substantial car parking area, a mobile café and a golf practice ground. The 18-hole course previously started and finished from this location. The resident golf club, Whitewebbs Golf Club, run their own operation from their southern clubhouse. The southern clubhouse is in poor condition and is generally regarded as being close to or at the end of its useful economic life.
In the 1990s, the Council let Whitewebbs Golf Course to a commercial golf operator. The latter relocated its clubhouse facilities to the northern part of the site by converting the old stable block near the mansion house (now the Toby Carvery) into a golf shop/reception area with changing rooms and modest café facilities. This move meant rerouting parts of the 18-hole course so that it started and finished close to the stable block clubhouse area. Nearby to the stable block clubhouse is a practice putting green and a customer car parking area. Also nearby is the greenkeeping complex.
The 18-hole course has a length of 5,822 yards (par 68) and originally opened for play in 1932. It was designed by the famous professional golfer, J H Taylora five-time winner of the Open Championship and a revered golf course architect. The course is parkland in style and is within an attractive setting for golf with a brook meandering though parts of it (Cuffley Brook). The greens are of traditional construction and there is an automated irrigation system to greens and tees. Golfers starting from the southern clubhouse (the site of the private members club), start on the 11th hole.
The two existing clubhouse locations provide any future golf operator with considerable flexibility and choice on how to run the operation, and what facilities they may wish to provide to the market – such as an enhanced golf academy/practice area and adventure golf. If requested, information on the main greenkeeping items can be provided. LBE have spent substantial sums in the last year upgrading some of the main greenkeeping machinery.
LBE runs the 18-hole golf course along with the stable block clubhouse ‘in-house’. The Council have provided a summary of the last 5 years’ of golf roundage, income and expenditure. A detailed breakdown of the site’s running costs can be obtained from the data room, please note that the expenditure figures shown below do not include central Council cost allocations. Year
2014/15 24, 724 £317, 676 £369, 864 -£52, 188
2015/16 25, 106 £318, 750 £354, 110 -£35, 360
2016/17 27, 507 £350, 650 £355, 329 -£4, 679
2017/18 26, 095 £328, 869 £389, 918 -£61, 049
2018/19 22, 740 £315, 170 £331, 009 -£15, 839
Below is a break-down of the Council’s revenue figures for the last three years. They are net of VAT and come from on-site management accounts. Please note that from 1st April 2018, food and beverages sold over the counter were incorporated in to retail sales. Standard summer rate green fees are £20 midweek and £26.50 at weekends. Midweek and 7-day season tickets are also available at costs of £499 and £699 respectively. Midweek and 7-day golf cards are also available, and they give holders discounted green fees. As at 4 July 2019 there were the following: • 7-day season ticket holders 59 • 5-day season ticket holders 43 • 7-day golf card holders 2 • 5-day golf card holders 50
The Whitewebbs Golf Shop staff reserve the Whitewebbs Golf Club approximately 6 booking slots every Saturday and Sunday morning for their Club competitions. If the Club anticipates that they will not use all slots, they give them back to the shop staff well in advance. There is the equivalent to 6.6 full time employees on site – 4 full time greenkeepers and 2.6 pro shop employees. Information on these employees, such as job titles and basic pay, can be requested and anonymised TUPE information will be provided.
An independent report was conducted by LBE to ascertain the potential for landscaping. The agent has not had sight of this report but understands that the golf course alone has capacity for 150,000 to 200,000m3 of inert material.
(Note. In a revised edition of this document “inert material” has been replaced by “soil”)
Applicants that are considering landscaping schemes are advised to make their own enquiries, and include these within the Expression of Interests, considering the other objectives of the Council. Any schemes that involve a landscaping element must still meet the Council’s objectives for the site.
From discussions with existing users of the property, some suggestions for future uses include: • A leisure centre, or outdoor gym; • Children’s play area; • Café or restaurant; • Bike hire and bike tracks. All uses will be subject to planning and we recommend pre-application advice is sought at the earliest opportunity. A complete list of suggestions can be found in the data room.
Planning policy is dictated by the London Borough of Enfield’s Core Strategy 2010 – 2025. An emerging Local Plan is currently being prepared. The proposals map accompanying the Core Strategy shows that Whitewebbs is designated as Green Belt, a Local Open Space and an Area of Special Advertisement Control. In addition, the woodland is classed as a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. A small area of the southern part of the site, south of the club house, is also situated within the Clay Hill Conservation Area. Redevelopment proposals that meet the requirements of the Core Strategy will be considered by LBE. We recommend that applicants make their own enquiries if a driving range forms part of their proposals. Planning permission has previously been granted for the redevelopment of the northern clubhouse – TP/96/1099 ‘conversion of vacant stable block into a golf clubhouse involving the demolition of single storey extension, demolition of existing depot and erection of new shed for ancillary storage purposes, together with extension to existing golf course involving landscape work, formation of car parking and new access road’. This permission was not implemented.
LBE have confirmed that the property benefits from mains water, electricity, gas and drainage. The agent have not made their own enquiries in this regard. We understand that a mains gas pipeline runs in close proximity to the southern boundary, near the Clubhouse and car park. Applicants are advised to make their own enquiries if this impacts their plans of redevelopment.
This is currently £117,000 effective from 1 April 2017. The Council has appealed this figure, via a ‘challenge’ to the Valuation Office Agency – as it is significantly higher than other local venues on a comparative basis. The Council is awaiting a response to the challenge from the Valuation Office Agency.
Tenure and disposal
The freehold of Whitewebbs Golf Course is currently held by LBE. The property is subject to registered leases and more information is available on request. The Southern Club House is occupied by a members-only Whitewebbs Golf Club, holding over from an expired lease. LBE are liaising with the Club to provide vacant possession of the site by the completion of a new lease.
Adjacent to the Southern Club House is mobile catering service holding over from a licence which terminated 31st March 2019. The licence fee is £10,000 per annum and permits the sale of hot and cold food, confectionary and non-alcoholic drinks only. The Council expect to issue a further licence terminating 31st March 2020.
There is a restriction on the selling of alcohol across the golf course, and food and drink outside of the club houses with some exceptions in accordance with the lease dated 23rd June 1998 between the Mayor and Burgesses of The London Borough of Enfield and Whitbread PLC. It may be possible to negotiate an agreement with Whitbread PLC to amend this restriction, subject to approval from LBE.
LBE is offering a 25 year lease over the property, subject to appropriate break clauses. The lease will be governed by the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 and excluded from the security of tenure provisions. The tenant will have full repairing and insuring obligations and will be able to assign and share possession in accordance with the lease provisions. An example lease can be found in the accompanying documents. LBE aim to complete a new lease before the end of 2019, with the new tenant taking occupation before 31st March 2020. Initial expressions of interest are invited by midday on Friday 27th September.
These should be completed on the document provided to ensure that details on the following are included: • Applicant • Proposed future use of the property • Extent of premises (if applying for part only) • Details of relevant experience in proposed use • The proposed annual rent offered, including any rent premiums or rent free periods • Outline development proposals • Details on how the proposals fit with LBE’s Vision • A summary business plan All offers will be considered, and dependent upon the level of interest, will be ranked against the Scoring Matrix provided. If strong interest is received, LBE and their agents reserve the right to initiate a second, more detailed, stage of bidding with the parties which ranked highest on the Scoring Matrix. Applications for part of the property may be disregarded if there is not enough interest to fully let the demise. In the circumstance applicants will be invited to revise their offer to reflect a tenancy of the whole. LBE reserves the right not to accept any proposal received.
Latest update from Enfield Council
This report was published on 10th March 2021 and it concerns the future of the Golf Course.