Enfield Council will have to address concerns over the future of a green belt golf course and woodland after a petition was signed by more than 3,400 people.

The council announced last year it was looking to lease Whitewebbs golf course and some of the surrounding woodland to a commercial partner, to combat a fall in revenues.

But campaigners fear the green belt land could be developed into new homes and a new leaseholder could reduce public access to the park and woodland.

They are calling on Enfield Council to guarantee full disclosure over its plans to “privatise” the 18-hole course and adjacent woodland.

Enfield Independent:

Councillors are obliged to discuss residents’ concerns at a full council meeting next Wednesday (February 26) after an online petition gained 3,464 signatures – more than the 3,124 threshold.

Sean Wilkinson, chairman of Friends of Whitewebbs Park, said: “Bradbury (the council’s director of property and economy) promised greater consultancy with stakeholder groups, but it simply hasn’t happened.

“We want to know the list of bidders after the March 2 deadline and to be able to question whoever is chosen before, not after any deal is wrapped, by which time it will be too late.

“The council’s latest marketing document makes no reference as to how the terms of leases will be monitored and rigorously enforced.

Enfield Independent:

“This is simply unacceptable for a Labour council that says it cares about the environment.”

Mr Wilkinson will urge councillors next week to outline what will and will not be permitted when the area is handed to developers under a new 25-year lease.

The council will comment further after the meeting.

Developers have until March 2 to bid for the lease. On January 15, the council said it had received 18 bids.

Mark Bradbury, the council’s director of property and economy, said at a meeting on January 15 that the council would not “allow any proposals that involve housing or any other development” on the 241-acre site, which is part of the borough’s green belt.

Enfield Independent:

Whitewebbs golf course. Photo: UGC

Speaking after the January meeting, an Enfield Council spokesperson said: “The current golf facility has been operating at a loss for several years so we are looking at a range of options that may or may not include golf.

“We are committed to ensuring that the valued green space and ancient woodland are protected and that proposals deliver enhanced public access, greater biodiversity, improved visitor facilities, including refreshments and ongoing community engagement. None of the proposals involve clearing the site to create a landfill.

“We are encouraging local residents to share what they would like to see at Whitewebbs with us so that this can inform the decision-making process.”

Once a preferred bidder has been chosen in April, there will be a public engagement day and a consultation on its proposals before they are considered by the council’s planning committee.