Footpaths and Access update

Whitewebbs – footpaths and access   June 2020

At the beginning of the marketing of Whitewebbs Park process we, the public, were promised that “the Council will require that the current level of public access across the park will be maintained.”

As time went on this promise appeared to become diluted and was reduced to an assurance that “rights of way” would be protected. Apart from the North South sections of the bridleway there are no “rights of way” in the park.

Earlier this year  I submitted a map showing the current  footpath pattern and heard little back from the Council other than an acknowledgement. No doubt the Covid 19 crisis has pre-occupied the time available to officers.  Follow up letters with support from Cllr Pite produced a very encouraging response from Mark Bradbury. (see below)

This will be very welcome news to all users of the park. During the period of “lockdown” we have seen a massive increase in the number of people using the park. Since the car park was re-opened we have had many visitors from all over the borough. The park has never been busier both in the woodland and  on the golf course.

Letter from Mark Bradbury June 2nd 2020

Classification: OFFICIAL

Sean,

My apologies for the slight delay in responding. As you say these are challenging times.

Please be assured that no decisions have been made nor will they ‘slip through’. I am aware that there may be rumours but can assure you they are just rumours.

The process has been on pause for obvious reasons and the bidders made aware. We are now beginning to look at how we now proceed to the next steps in a way that takes account of restrictions on holding meeting or events. We will communicate this through the website in due course and I will be in touch to arrange a meeting with you/the Friends as a stakeholder before any decision is made.

As regards public access the position remains as per the marketing literature ie

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 proposal that will, at a minimum, retain this level of public access.

I have now had the opportunity to review the plan you sent through showing footpaths and bridleways across the site. As you acknowledge most of these are not shown on ordnance survey maps as they focus on public rights of way and bridleways.

As you also acknowledge some of the informal paths will vary either seasonally or over time. Also a number of the bids propose additional planting and/or rewilding so it is possible that some informal routes may need adjustment to reflect this, so whilst I cannot confirm that every informal path shown on your plan (attached) will be maintained exactly as set out on that plan, we will not select a preferred bidder unless their proposal maintains or enhances the level of public access provided by them. All Public Rights of Way, Bridleways and Permissive paths will also be retained or enhanced.

I hope that gives you both clarity and reassurance.

I am aware that you have also written to ward councillors advising of use of the course in the last couple of weeks by golfers. Safety of our staff and customers was our priority but you will be please to note that the course reopened on Saturday and more details are here https://new.enfield.gov.uk/whitewebbsgolf/coronavirus-covid-19-update/

I hope my response give your reassurance that no decisions have been made and that we remain committed to the requirements in the original brief including those around the retention or enhancement of public access, maintenance of woodland and open areas and the provision of refreshments and welfare facilities.

Best wishes

Mark

Mark Bradbury MRICS, FRSA, FIoEE

Director of Property and Economy

Enfield Council

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