Draft response to Mark Bradbury’s portfolio report on Whitewebbs Golf Course

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

Portfolio Report

Report of: Mark Bradbury Director of Property & Economy

Doug Wilkinson Director of Environment &

Operational Services

Subject: Whitewebbs Park Golf Course

Cabinet Member: Cllr Caliskan – Leader of the Council

Cllr Dogan – Cabinet Member for Environment &

Sustainability

Executive Director: Sarah Cary – Place

Ward: Chase

Key Decision: KD5177

This is a very disturbing document:

  1. It recommends a major decision with longterm consequences without consulting any of the stakeholders for Whitewebbs Park.
  2. 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.

5 thoughts on “Draft response to Mark Bradbury’s portfolio report on Whitewebbs Golf Course”

  1. I cannot believe the Council have sunk to such a depth as to want to sell off parts of Whitewebbs Park. The park is used by so many Enfield residents. Walking through the park brings exercise through all the seasons of the year and is particularly helpful to those suffering from mental health. I have often found a walk around the woodland area is so relaxing and at the end of a walk a problem one may have had does not seem to be as important as one thought. I fully support the Friends of Whitewebbs petition against selling off any part of the park which should be kept solely for the members of the public.

  2. I cannot believe that the council can even contemplate this action. This park is used daily by hundreds of local people, not only golfers,for some of whom a round of golf is their only chance to meet up with others. Enfield Council are really stirring up a hornets nest with this action.

  3. Whitewebbs Golf Course is where I and majority of Enfield golfers learnt to play the game. A few tweeks and changes over the years have improved the course. With a lack of pay and play courses around it would be awful decision to get rid of this course.

  4. Is there any petition appeal process that can be used to help them reconsider this decision? We have 4 generations of golfers who have enjoyed the use of this course. My Grandad played there back in the 1960’s, and his ashes were scattered over the course as he enjoyed spending his time over there. Now i enjoy spending time with my Dad and my two sons learning how to play golf. Limited spaces on other play as you play courses will just make tee times more difficult to secure and drive up prices. How does closing a golf course, encourage physical activity, i really have not idea?

  5. As an OAP, Whitewebbs Golf Course has provided myself and my wife with the opportunity of playing golf at least twice a week, at reasonable prices and in beautiful surroundings. There is no course like Whitewebbs, in terms of beauty, accessibility and friendliness. We cannot afford private golf membership and all local clubs are already well over subscribed, a situation which has been exacerbated by the knock on effects of the pandemic. The golf course and surrounding land is a gem in terms of natural beauty and history, and is enjoyed and used by residents and visitors alike. The golf club and all surrounding areas are fully used every day of the week because they are so exceptional. To remove this important leisure facility in spite of the wishes of thousands of residents, and to destroy this area of natural beauty is disastrous. I’m sure most Whitewebbs golfers would be prepared to pay a little more if necessary. To close this facility now in the middle of a pandemic, when revenue was almost doubled last year and probably would be again this year, seems completely irrational and very, very sad. I would urgently request that Enfield Council reconsider this decision.

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