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Perivale Park golfers go to Ombudsman over Ealing Council closure plans

The battle to save Perivale Park Golf Course from closure by Ealing Council has now gone to the Local Government Ombudsman as players and supporters claim they have “evidence of misrepresentation” and “ignoring representations from both us as a club and park users generally”.   

Perivale Park Golf Club has submitted a “nine point formal complaint document” to the Ombudsman about Ealing Council and how it has acted in the way it closed the course in favour of a proposed new regional park.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, club spokesperson David Chapman said: “We’ve submitted a nine point formal complaint document over the way Ealing Council have pushed through the course closure.”

Mr Chapman added: “We think we have evidence of misrepresentation, suppressing their own reports that expressed positive views about the golf course and just ignoring representations from both us as a club and park users generally. It’s an absolute disgrace the way Ealing Labour have used their council majority to bully this closure decision through their committee structure.”

According to Ealing Council, a public consultation to open a new regional park in Perivale saw more than 6,000 taking part with 62% of residents supporting the closure of the golf course and golf club attached to it in order to have a park.

Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council said: “The transformation of Perivale Golf Course into a new park that could eventually become part of a regional park will realise a historic ambition for Ealing Council. The Elizabeth II Park has transformed east London and a park of this size has the potential to have similar positive effect on the borough and west London too.”

Last month, Peter George, Ealing Council’s strategic director for economy and sustainability took the decision to permanently close the golf course. This is the start of the process for works to transform the course into a accessible park which the council says could then become part of a new much larger regional park.

Mr Chapman continued: “At the most recent scrutiny committee on 28 March, when asked why the council would not await the publication of the Prior+ Partners feasibility/master plan before deciding on closing Perivale Park golf course as per representation made by Sport England; the decision maker Peter George stated that he wanted the new park to be available to residents in the summer of 2024 and that the closure date is dictated by the time-table set out in the Cabinet Report on the Regional Park.”

He added: “The first reason is nonsensical. Dog walkers, leisure walkers, cyclists and runners currently avail themselves of the use of the entire park including the golf course. The public announcement will not attract thousands of visitors from the borough to a golf course that has just been closed bearing in mind that only 2.5% of the adult population in the borough responded to the survey. On the contrary the deserted site will likely become the venue for anti-social behaviour by virtue of the remoteness of parts of the course

“The second reason is disingenuous.  Mr George stated there was an overprovision of golf facilities in the borough and the council shouldn’t wait for the wider review of golfing provision before closing Perivale Park Golf Course. He isn’t prepared to abide by the time table as it relates to the wider review but when it comes to the closure of Perivale Park golf course he wishes to impose a strict deadline.

“This was the same meeting where one of the councillors absented themselves from the meeting only to return to vote for closure, totally unaware of the discussion, and the chairperson Councillor Yoel Gordon told everyone present how he was going to cast his vote before it had even been taken.
The Ealing Labour majority are behaving more like autocrats than a political party that is supposed to support working class values and people.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball spoke in the meeting and voted to keep open the golf course and to send back the decision to the council’s cabinet committee, but the ruling Labour party voted to push the decision through to close the golf course.

Councillor Ball said: “Liberal Democrats are very disappointed that Labour refuse to even consider the proposals from the Perivale Golf Club to reconfigure Perivale Park golf course to take less space, allow more public access and to become an even more accessible course. There is room for golf to continue within a Regional Park. Destroying the course is not the necessary collateral damage that this blinkered Labour council see it as.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson previously said: “Public speaking at any of our committee meetings is at the chair’s discretion. Representatives from the golf club were allowed to speak at the call-in meeting in October 2023 when the original decision to proceed with the regional park was considered.

“Following that meeting, there was a full public consultation which golf course users were able to respond to. The chair felt that allowing additional speakers at the meeting on 28 March was not required, as the decision being called in had been subject to a full consultation and also had two opposition councillors presenting the call in.”

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