This is an initial response to the document headed
Please note Part 2 report is now confidential appendix.
PL 20.087 P KD5177 Part 1
London Borough of Enfield
Report of: Mark Bradbury – Director of Property & Economy
Doug Wilkinson – Director of Environment &
Subject: Whitewebbs Park Golf Course
Cabinet Member: Cllr Caliskan – Leader of the Council
Cllr Dogan – Cabinet Member for Environment &
Executive Director: Sarah Cary – Place
Key Decision: KD5177
This is a very disturbing document:
- It recommends a major decision with longterm consequences without consulting any of the stakeholders for Whitewebbs Park.
- As shown by this extract and in other parts of the document
16. WPGC includes Whitewebbs Woods, and pockets of parkland adjacent to
the golf course. Whitewebbs Woods is deemed ancient woodland and is
classed as a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation
The Council Officers appear to have reconstituted the status of the park. Whitewebbs Park was purchased by the then Council in 1932. Subsequent to the purchase a golf course was constructed in part of the park. WPGC does not include Whitewebbs Wood. Whitewebbs Park includes Whitewebbs Wood and the Golf Course(WPGC). Officers seem to be going back to their earlier description used for marketing purposes of the park as “Golf Course and adjacent land.”. Ancient woodland (140 acres) cannot be offensively dismissed as “adjacent land”.
- The financial sense of closing a facility two weeks before it is going to generate a large income is puzzling. Last year after lockdown usage of the golf course went up 55% and income went up 80%. Unlike most private courses Whitewebbs did not hike up its prices, golfers used the premium slots.
The assertion that “Whilst there was an increase in bookings during the summer this
was considered a temporary situation where existing golfers made up for lost rounds during lockdown,” needs support from evidence. Those of us who visit the park daily saw and met many players new to the course who could not get a slot elsewhere.
- The claim that there are numerous courses nearby ignores the fact that some local courses have closed and that there is a very large population in the area. The evidence of last year is that golfers were searching hard to find courses with available slots.
The Council might like to consider that this temporary situation is going on for a very long time. It is very likely that there will be a new normal for the way we live and work as the Blue and Green Strategy document recognised.
- Equal opportunities – “A scoping assessment (whatever that is) concluded that an equalities assessment is neither relevant ……..” This is one of a very limited number of public courses in the area. No membership qualifications, low fees, anyone can play. Since when has open to all not been relevant to equal opportunities?
- “Closing the course ………………. will encourage physical activity”
- Consultation On various occasions the Council has promised to consult with “Stakeholders” about the future of Whitewebbs Park. We were told that when a shortlist of preferred bidders was selected there would be stakeholder consultation. There would then be public consultation when the final preferred bidder was submitted for Council approval. This document tells us that Six bidders have made it to the shortlist. None of the stakeholders has been approached and yet key decisions are being made about the park. The Blue and Green consultation document recognises that Friends of Parks will have to make a major contribution if the aims of the vision are to be achieved. Good will, support and consultation are two way processes.
- The golf course is not a sterile, barren waste of grass monoculture. It has been there for nearly 90 years and contains a diverse range of environments – trees, bushes, hedgerows, grasses together with a wide range of bird and bat species.
- The Friends of Whitewebbs recognise the pressures of increased park use and have put forward a number of suggestions to the Parks Officers that will enable visitors to enjoy Whitewebbs Park over the Summer. We are sure that other Friends groups are undertaking similar exercises.