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Questions raised about Ealing Council meeting over closure of Perivale Park Golf Course

Opposition parties and campaigners for Perivale Park Golf Course have raised concerns over the way a call in meeting to discuss the closure of the golf course was held.

Campaigners say they were denied an opportunity to speak at the meeting and none of it was broadcast or recorded online for residents to view. Labour-run Ealing Council says public speaking at committee meetings is “at the chair’s discretion” and an “error” resulted in the meeting not being recorded.

Ealing Liberal Democrats called for a review into Ealing Council’s decision to close Perivale Park Golf Course and its golf club with a meeting on Thursday (28 March 2024) of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

But campaigners say they were denied the opportunity to present at the meeting and after the meeting took place discovered that none of it was being broadcast or recorded on YouTube like other meetings are.

David Chapman, spokesperson for Perivale Park Golf Club told EALING.NEWS: “This whole business stinks. First of all Councillor Yoel Gordon the committee chairperson, refused to allow us to make a three minute statement before the committee and now the YouTube recording isn’t available. We immediately emailed the council officer in charge of the meeting about the lack of a YouTube recording and received this reply:

“It is a simple error that I must take responsibility for – the meeting was on mute when we started and it was only when one of the Councillors pointed this out when someone contacted them that I was able to un-mute the meeting.

“I am sorry for this – you will need to wait until the minutes have been published to see what was said as I was taking extensive notes. I will endeavour to get draft minutes published next week.

“At this stage I think it is important to highlight that the lack of a YouTube recording does not in any way invalidate the meeting as this is not a legal requirement it is something we do in addition to our statutory requirements”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson 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.”

When asked by EALING.NEWS on what happened to the recording of the meeting, an Ealing Council spokesperson said: “We apologise for this. Unfortunately, the recording of the meeting was muted due to an error. However, the draft minutes will be produced and published this week, so residents will be able to read what happened at the meeting. Going forward, there will be thorough checks to ensure this does not happen.

“All members of the committee, and members of the public in the public gallery, were able to hear everything that was said from all participants throughout the meeting. The public gallery was full, with representatives from the golf club in attendance.”

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.

Prior to the Ealing Council’s overview and scrutiny committee a rally was held outside Perceval House before the council meeting took place.

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 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.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Connie Hersch, spokesperson for communities commented: “Labour Council has voted to close the one golf course which was most affordable and inclusive in the borough to make space for a wider park which has not yet been planned. They have also regrettably refused to even look at ways in which the course can be included or how the course can contribute to the benefits of a park.”

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