A golf course that Enfield Council plans to lease out will not reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The council says Whitewebbs Park Golf Course, in Clay Hill, has lost more than £1.1 million during the past five years and it would be “irresponsible” to continue to subsidise it using taxpayers’ money.

But Tory leader Cllr Joanne Laban branded the move “outrageous” and said there is likely to be a rise in demand for golf as lockdown eases, which would bring in extra revenue.

The golf course, which is in the borough’s green belt, could have reopened from March 28 under the Government’s current plans to lift lockdown restrictions.

Cllr Laban said: “Whitewebbs Park and 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.”

Cllr Laban said there could soon be a big surge in demand for outdoor activities such as golf, as lockdown had increased people’s desire to be out and about – and the council had not taken this into account.

A report published by the council last week 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.”