Players and supporters of Perivale Park golf course have staged a demonstration before an Ealing Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee call in meeting to express their concerns over council plans to close the course.
At the start of September, Labour-run Ealing Council announced its intentions to close the golf course and use the land for a planned regional park for the borough.
Last night the council held a council call in by Liberal Democrat Councillor Connie Hersch and Conservative Councillor Julian Gallant. The councillors gave their reasons for the call in and for it to be referred back to Ealing Council cabinet.
Leslie Glancy, club captain of Perivale Park golf club and Henry Rzepa, of the Friends of Perivale Park also spoke of their concerns and the need for the golf course and what is offers to the local community.
Despite their concerns and those of supporters of the golf course, the motion was defeated after nearly two hours of debate.
Speaking to EALING.NEWS following the call in meeting, Ms Glancy said the Perivale Park golf club and its supporters will do their utmost to save the course and club. She said: “We will fight on as long as necessary and will seek legal advice as required.”
Ms Glancy added that she also had a message to the leader of the council, Councillor Peter Mason: “Why close the golf course before any business case has been presented. If Brent Valley is to be reconfigured this would possibly mean no golf for a long period of time.”
During the call in, the council said a six week consultation over the planned closure of Perivale Park golf course will take place soon. It says this will allow players and residents to provide their comments and views which the council will consider with its final decision.
Councillor Polly Newstub, cabinet member for thriving communities also revealed details that it is planning to work with current players to move over to nearby Brent Valley golf course. Councillor Newstub claimed usage is low with an average of 10 unique users a day which supporters of the club have disputed.
Councillor Newstub also said that each unique user at the golf course is subsidised by the council by £75 a year to play which she claimed is “disproportionate subsidy compared to other sporting activity”. She added: “it is hard to justify a community asset that benefits so few people when it could be put to better use and benefit so many”.
Councillor Newstub said the council acknowledged the importance of creating an accessible 9 hole course at Brent Valley and that they would offer free or affordable golf buggies to help with access in and around the course.
In his questioning the council on its plans at the call in, Ealing Liberal Democrats Councillor Jon Ball said:
“Firstly, the numbers quoted don’t correlate with reality. These 10 unique users we hear of even if they play every single day of the year would add up to less than a tenth of the actual annual usage – in reality of course there are a range of frequencies including some poeple who play on a one off basis – so cabinet made this decision justified by a mathematically impossible usage number.
“We have heard that Perivale Park is the most accessible golf course in the borough both financially and socially but also in terms of its relatively flat layout which is ideal for older people and those with disabilities.
“As Councillor Hersch said, the regional park proposal is at a very early stage but one decision seems to have been made already- to close Perivale Park Golf Club, which we have heard would be merely one small part of a very large regional park. The response we got from one of the portfolio holders to the question of why Perivale Golf Club, was “We need to start somewhere”. That’s not very convincing.
“It seems to me that it’s possible for a compromise to be found where the golf course remains open but forms part of a regional park and there is even more obvious public access to walk across the course and also better promotion of pay per play use to the larger numbers of visitors that will be attracted to the regional park.
“I think we should send this back to cabinet supporting the consultation on a regional park but asking cabinet to reconsider the immediate and premature closure of Perivale Park golf club.”
During the call in and questioning by the Ealing Council scrutiny committee, Councillor Newstub and Councillor Costigan said that for both the consultation period for the planned regional park and also closure of Perivale Park golf course it would be working with local people to involve them during the process.