Whitewebbs and Spurs

Local resident Sean Wilkinson’s bid to stop Enfield Council leasing part of Whitewebbs Park to Spurs for a women’s football academy was rejected by the High Court on 17th May. It seems likely that Sean will appeal this decision, but in the meantime, Spurs have submitted a planning application for which the deadline for comments is 31st May. The full application (Ref.24/00987/FUL) can be viewed and responded to on the LBE Planning Portal here: https://planningandbuildingcontrol.enfield.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=SAYPT2JNJZ900&activeTab=summary

We are aware that many people object strongly to the disposal of public property to a commercial organisation and question the Club’s commitment to maintain a major part of the parkland. The Society has concerns about the proposals, most notably the inclusion of large parts of the woodland area to the west which appear of no relevance to Spurs, whose main interest is in creating a women’s football training area on part of the former golf course However, the Society’s view continues to be that Enfield Council’s financial situation is such that disposal of the land is inevitable and that the Spurs option seems to be the most acceptable outcome of those tendered – but we reserve our position until the terms of the lease are made public. If the Council is minded to approve Spurs’ planning application, in our view their proposals – if properly implemented – could provide much needed improvements to the park.

The Enfield Society will push for a series of conditions which we would want to see enforced. The Council must ensure that Spurs deliver on these and other commitments both through planning conditions in its role as the planning authority, and through the lease in its role as landowner. These conditions could include:

  • The part of the Property to be enclosed for the Women’s Academy will be strictly as shown in the THFC proposal, with the remainder of the property remaining unfenced and accessible to the public at any reasonable time. Access will be available at all points where this is currently the case.
  • The Council and THFC will cooperate to have the access paths designated as rights of way. The present car parks must be retained and should remain free to use.
  • The part of the former golf course not enclosed for the Academy will be maintained as open grassland in the style of a country estate.
  • As many existing trees as possible should be retained, and the screening of the academy area should be formed of native countryside species (not laurel hedges as used at THFC’s existing facility). 
  • We have particular concern for the rerouting of the access road to the Toby Carvery to the other side of the lake. This will destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the lake (which will effectively become a traffic island), and the part of the woodland not included in the leased area.
  • The restoration of North Lodge should be considered, possibly as part of a Section 106 condition of the planning consent.

We will be making these and other points in our response to the planning application. Please be sure to add your own voice by responding to the planning application before 31st May.

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