Plans for Barnet golf course

Written by  Monday, 09 February 2015 19:58
Club members with plans (l to r) Paul Grant, project leader; Robin Loader, past chairman; and Derek Seeley Club members with plans (l to r) Paul Grant, project leader; Robin Loader, past chairman; and Derek Seeley
Consultations have started on proposals to redevelop part of the course of the Old Fold Manor Golf Club, across land that is currently included in the registered site of the Battle of Barnet.

If the club can obtain planning permission from Barnet Council it will employ contractors to import 80,000 cubic metres of soil to develop a new practice area and to create a boundary mound alongside the St Albans Road, on the western edge of its course at Hadley Common.

Only 5 per cent of the total land area of the golf course would be re-landscaped, and the club says it is anxious to carry out its improvements in conjunction with heritage groups such as Barnet Museum, the Battlefields Trust and the Barnet Society.

To ensure the historic nature of the golf course is protected, the club says the project would be supervised with the assistance of archaeological consultants who would give advice on any possible excavations and safeguard any finds relating to the Battle of Barnet.

Groups representing local residents and other interested organisations are now being consulted on draft proposals, and the aim would be to apply for planning permission in March or April.

If approval is given, the work will be carried out during the autumn and winter for completion by the spring of 2016.

Paul Grant, who is leading the project on behalf of the club, says the redevelopment of the course is essential if Old Fold Manor is to stand any chance of attracting a new and younger membership.

“Our future financial viability depends on our ability to renew our membership and the income we would get from accepting top-soil and sub-soil as landfill material will pay for improvements.

“We recognise that the golf course is a key part of a beautiful landscape around Monken Hadley. 

We have no intention whatsoever of changing either the features or the relief of the golf course, of harming the surrounding woodland or causing any environmental damage.”

A row of 50 Lombardy poplars are to be felled as part of plansA row of 50 Lombardy poplars are to be felled as part of plansThe club wants to install a new covered practice area and three academy golf holes on spare land towards the northern perimeter of the course, so as to be able to offer training for young golfers.

This area would be re-landscaped, as would the western edge of the course where a twelve-foot high mound would be created running alongside the 900-yard boundary with St Albans Road.

Fifty diseased Lombardy poplar trees that currently mark the boundary with St Albans Road would have to be felled for health and safety reasons, and the two re-landscaped areas would be replanted with 3,000 trees and shrubs.

The offer to consult with heritage groups was welcomed by Dr Gillian Gear, archivist at the Barnet Museum, and Howard Simmons, a trustee of the Battlefields Trust, when club officials discussed the plans with local representatives (4.2.2015).

They both hope that any investigations or excavations that are carried out before the start of re-landscaping can be done in conjunction with a fresh proposal for a full excavation of the Battle of Barnet site by the leading military archaeologist Dr Glenn Foard of Huddersfield University.

A revised application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is now being prepared by the university to secure a grant towards the cost.

Dr Gear and Mr Simmons said they would like to see the two projects proceeding in tandem as there was every likelihood that together they projects might help determine the precise site of the Battle of Barnet.

Jennifer Richards, a heritage consultant from Headland Archaeology, has been assigned to the golf course project and she gave an undertaking that a thorough investigation of the site would be completed before any work began, including the possible use of metal detectors.

“We will make sure during the removal of any top soil from the areas around the golf course that any relics are recovered and properly secured.

We know there was the early use of hand artillery during the Battle of Barnet and obviously we would be on the lookout for bits of lead shot as well as any other artefacts.”

Derek Seeley, a club member and an archaeologist at the Museum of London, said that over the years the course had been thoroughly checked to see if there were any relics from the battle, but none had been found so far.

Dr Foard also has his doubts as to whether the golf course is within the site of the Battle of Barnet.

Although English Heritage had included Old Fold Manor as part of the registered site, he thinks the precise location is probably further to the north.     

In response to questions about the use of landfill material, Woodland Environmental Ltd, which would be the main contractor, said the intention was to import on to the site around 80,000 cubic metres of top-soil and sub-soil, which would be the equivalent of 8,000 lorry-loads.

A temporary access road would be constructed running from St Albans Road towards the northern perimeter of the golf course.  

Woodland Environment is currently re-landscaping Letchworth Golf Club. Stuart Downs, the company’s head of planning, said he could give an assurance that all environmental regulations would be adhered to.

The soil would come from construction sites within the Greater London area and deliveries would be properly monitored. “All lorry movements would be via the M25.

Lorries approaching the course would leave St Albans Road shortly after the Trotters Bottom roundabout, so there will be no lorry movements through High Barnet itself.”

In presenting the club’s plans Mr Grant explained that the area that was being redeveloped to provide six covered practice bays had previously been a practice area but had not been used recently.

“Barnet Council, which owns the golf course, has already given us landlord’s consent for the improvements and re-landscaping.  We are duty bound to carry out improvements, and covered bays for practice have to be installed by 2020, so work has to be done.

“Within a two- to three-mile radius of Old Fold Manor there are six or seven golf clubs and there is a lot of competition.  Membership is down across the clubs and we must attract younger members if Old Fold Manor is to go forward.”

Anyone wishing to contact the club to discuss the planned work can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.People wishing to see the affected areas should contact the club for an escorted tour.

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Sunday, 15 February 2015 09:19 posted by Phillip Willcocks

    Presumably by landscaping they mean accepting a sizeable mountain of cash for receiving 50,000 cubic metres of dumped waste material.

  • Comment Link Monday, 06 February 2017 11:50 posted by R Haylock

    This morning was thr first time that I have heard of any works at old fold golf course.
    My house back onto the course at Hadley Highstone.
    Can not see the need to destroy any trees or any green belt land in an area of 7 or more courses.
    Surely golf is as any other business it supply and demand.
    This will not stop any course from closure only delay it.
    All the courses in the area will be planning to us there land in simula ways to make a profit to stay open.
    In 50 years time we will have 7 or more pitch and put areas suronded by shop pub and burger bar, so they can stay open.

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