The following is the text of an e-mail sent by Mark Bradbury (Directory of Property) to all Chase Ward Residents:
In recent weeks there has been much misinformation circulated about the future of Whitewebbs Park, causing great anxiety to some residents. It is important residents are provided with the facts.
- Enfield Council is not selling or disposing of the freehold ownership of the Whitewebbs Golf Course site.
- Rumours that the golf course site could be used for housing development or landfill are untrue.
- The woodlands will continue to be protected and community access maintained.
- Whitewebbs Golf Course has made a loss of over £1.1 million since 2014/15 —which is a financial burden on the Enfield taxpayer.
History of Whitewebbs Golf Course
Between 1996 and 2001 the Whitewebbs Golf Course was operated by a private company who leased the site from the local authority. In 2001 the company was unable to continue to – meet the payments required to Enfield Council, so the arrangement was terminated.
Enfield Council then took over the management of the golf course, but it continued to struggle commercially and regularly made a financial loss.
As a result, Enfield Council decided to market the golf course site on three separate occasions — in 2002, 2007 and 2017 — to try and attract a tenant who could make a success of the golf course commercially as well as meet the Council’s wider objectives for the borough and residents. None of these tenders were able to identify an operator for the golf course who could both meet the Council’s financial requirements and provide a facility which was beneficial for the wider local community.
Financial position of Whitewebbs Golf Course
Meanwhile, the golf club has made a loss of more than £1.1 million since 2014/15 despite the introduction of measures designed to increase income and reduce costs at the site. Local council taxpayers have spent £1.1 million over the last 5 years subsidising a club which has 135 members. The golf course also now requires significant investment in order to keep operating.
While of course, as a Council we wish to encourage local residents to stay active in outdoor sports and activities, it would not be fair on the 300,000+ residents to continue funding this. It would also be financially irresponsible.
This is at a time when Enfield Council has been forced to find huge savings — £193 million since 2010 — as a result of government funding cuts and increasing pressure on services.
To give you an idea of the choices that Enfield Council has to make, £1 million would pay for 22 full-time social workers or could fund packages of care for around 80 older vulnerable people in Enfield.
Particularly during the current national crisis when our priority is protecting Enfield communities and providing support for our most vulnerable residents, it would be irresponsible of Enfield Council to continue to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise an activity that is well provided for elsewhere across the borough. Enfield currently has six other full-length courses with several more in the surrounding area.
2020 Marketing of Whitewebbs Golf Course
The Whitewebbs Golf Course has been closed for much of the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, prior to this, in March 2019 Enfield Council took the decision to market Whitewebbs Golf Course and award a lease for the site as the ongoing financial pressure of continuing to run the golf course was simply unsustainable and would be financially irresponsible.
Enfield Council is currently in a process to determine the future of Whitewebbs Park Golf Course. This process has been delayed because the coronavirus pandemic has affected the immediate priorities of the Council.
Enfield Council protecting and improving Whitewebbs for the local community
Suggestions that the site will be used for housing or landfill are categorically untrue. Enfield Council is not selling or disposing of the site. In March 2019, Enfield Council began a marketing process for a 25-year lease for the golf course site, with no automatic renewal and strict controls to ensure compliance.