A candidate seeking election to the London Assembly has branded the leasing of a former golf course to Tottenham Hotspur FC the “enclosure movement for our time”.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Conference last weekend, Enfield and Haringey candidate Guy Russo hit out at Enfield Council’s proposed leasing of Whitewebbs to the Premier League club. 

Tottenham Hotspur wants to set up a new women’s football academy on the site of the park’s former golf course in northern Enfield.

But the decision to grant the 25-year lease sparked a backlash from local people, who claim it will restrict public access.

The proposed training academy is set to cover around 18% of the overall park, but the club has pledged to “enhance” public access elsewhere by improving footpaths and bridleways.

A judicial review of the authority’s decision is currently under way, with a decision now expected after Easter, according to Friends of Whitewebbs Park.

Lib Dem candidate Russo claimed that although it might seem sports-friendly for Enfield Council to lease the space to Spurs, the move amounts to “the enclosure movement for our time”.

He said that the council was trying to make a “quick buck”, and that it was “scandalously” leasing out what used to be “one of London’s few cheap golf courses”.

Russo added: “Councils face increasingly tough choices - there can be no denying that. But to cut community sport is the easy option.

“So we must give councils the support they need to ringfence, protect and enhance these facilities - but we must also call on them to think again before making these cuts in the first place.”

Enfield Council said they could not comment on Russo’s remarks due to the ongoing election campaign.

Tottenham Hotspur declined to comment when approached by Enfield Independent.