North London golf club ‘will not reopen’ despite likely surge

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 22, 2021 07:12

A municipal golf club in North London has been told it will not reopen on March 29 due to losses over recent years – even though there is currently huge demand to play the game.

Enfield Council has said Whitewebbs Park Golf Course has lost more than £1.1 million during the past five years and it would therefore be “irresponsible” to continue to subsidise it using taxpayers’ money.

However, at least one councillor has said the decision is “outrageous” due to the anticipated participation surge when courses reopen.

Joanne Laban said there is likely to be a rise in demand, which would bring in extra revenue.

She said: “Whitewebbs Park Golf Course is a much-loved asset in our borough, and it is outrageous that the Labour administration has decided to close the golf course with immediate effect, and with no consultation with residents.

“The reaction of residents on social media to this decision shows the strength of feeling on this issue. This action, in my opinion, indicates that the Labour council has already decided that the golf course will not remain, and some other form of commercial activity will replace it in the future, which seems to also prejudge the process of the procurement.”

She added that the council had not taken the predicted participation surge into account.

Whitewebbs Park Golf Course. Image from Facebook

A report recently published by the council acknowledged there was an increase in bookings for the course during summer 2020 but claimed this was “a temporary situation where existing golfers made up for lost rounds during lockdown”.

Enfield Council first revealed plans to lease out the course and surrounding woodland to a commercial partner in 2019.

The original marketing prospectus said the site had capacity for “inert material” – a category that could include building waste. The council said this was a mistake, and the prospectus was amended to remove the reference to inert material.

The council says the course will remain open for walking, jogging and other recreational use.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Whitewebbs Golf Course has been making a loss for a number of years, despite the introduction of measures designed to increase income and reduce costs at the site.

“Since 2014-15 the golf club has lost more than £1.1million. At a time of national crisis, when our priority is protecting all of our communities and providing support for our most vulnerable residents, it would be irresponsible and unsustainable to continue to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise an activity that is well provided for elsewhere across the borough, with six full-length courses and a pitch and putt course available for golfers in Enfield.

“We are currently in a marketing process which will determine the future of the Whitewebbs Golf Course site. This process requires – among other considerations – applicants to meet the needs of the council and the wider community and to increase community access to Whitewebbs for walking, recreation, leisure and other uses.

“Unfortunately, this process has been delayed because the coronavirus pandemic has affected the immediate priorities of the council and the applicants. However, Enfield Council will be in a position to announce the next steps shortly. In the meantime, whilst the course will be closed to golf, the site will remain open for walking, jogging and other recreational use.

“Any suggestion that the site will be used for housing or landfill are utter nonsense and scaremongering. In reality, the golf course has already been closed for a year, and this report is merely a formality.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 22, 2021 07:12
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6 Comments

  1. Neil March 31, 22:23

    Words fail me! As always “Theres nothing so cheap as public money”

    Whitewebbs is an old established and popular golf course.
    If Enfield borough Council has managed to LOSE £1.1m on a golf course when anyone with a grain of common sense should be turning an easy profit must raise serious doubts on how they fare running far more complex public enterprise for which they are responsible. Im so glad I dont pay my rates to Enfield.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Neil March 31, 22:22

    Words fail me! As always “Theres nothing so cheap as public money”

    Whitewebbs is an old established and popular golf course.
    If Enfield borough Council has managed to LOSE £1.1m on a golf course when anyone with a grain of common sense should be turning an easy profit must raise serious doubts on how they fare running far more complex public enterprise for which they are responsible. Im so glad I dont pay my rates to Enfield.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Neil March 31, 22:22

    Words fail me! As always “Theres nothing so cheap as public money”

    Whitewebbs is an old established and popular golf course.
    If Enfield borough Council has managed to LOSE £1.1m on a golf course when anyone with a grain of common sense should be turning an easy profit must raise serious doubts on how they fare running far more complex public enterprise for which they are responsible. Im so glad I dont pay my rates to Enfield.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mark March 23, 11:13

    we are one of the (many) qualified groups that tried to bid to take over the golf club/courses and to continue to operate the golf – indeed to improve it – and we were obstructed and blocked by an arcane process at the Borough and “withdrew”

    Reply to this comment
  5. Peter March 22, 16:07

    These decisions are tough !! Decisions that require intense scrutiny and understanding of Primary Markets, knowledge of surrounding areas and people in the community !! Sometimes, it’s non-golfers who want course to stay open, to keep property values high !! Community itself, uncapable of supporting course with enough golfers and payers of fees or dues !! Always a tough decision with passions on both sides !!

    Reply to this comment
    • Neil March 31, 22:26

      Hi Peter
      I run a similar golf course 8 miles from Whitewebbs.Nothing tough about it,Whitewebbs is a very long established very popular public course. To make a loss there takes gross mismanagement make no mistake.It has everything going for it.

      Reply to this comment
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