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Thursday, 24 October 2013 13:18

The new Battle of Barnet?

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The Old Ford Manor Golf Club at Monken Hadley The Old Ford Manor Golf Club at Monken Hadley
A plan to deposit landfill on the golf course that takes in part of the site of the Battle of Barnet has alarmed the Battlefields Trust. Old Fold Manor Golf Club at Monken Hadley is drawing up proposals to re-landscape the 900 yard stretch of the course which runs parallel to the St Albans Road.

If planning consent was obtained to accept thousands of tons of landfill material it would be deposited in and around the land between the 6th and 8th holes; this work would entail felling the line of poplar trees that runs alongside the main road and forms the western boundary of the golf course.

...relations between Old Fold Manor and military archaeologists are already strained...

So far no specific proposals have been published.  Approval for the possible re-landscaping of the area around the 6th, 7th and 8th holes was given at the club’s annual general meeting.

Consent for a change of use of the land would be required from Barnet Council, the club’s landlord, and once that had been obtained the club would need to seek planning approval.

An application by the Battlefields Trust to help finance an archaeological dig to determine the precise site of the Battle of Barnet is currently being considered by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The trust is anxious to mount a co-ordinated campaign among local heritage and history groups so as to protect whatever archaeology there might be on the golf course that relates to the battle site.

So far the initial response of Glenn Foard, Reader in Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Huddersfield, who would lead the proposed dig at Barnet, is that the battle site is probably further over towards Monkey Hadley than the area being proposed for landfill.

BOld Ford Manor Golf ClubOld Ford Manor Golf Clubut relations between Old Fold Manor and military archaeologists are already strained.  In previous years the golf club has made it clear to local historians that it has no intention of allowing “enthusiasts with metal detectors and potential grave robbers”  to roam free over the course.

Such is the gulf between golfers and archaeologists that a newly-compiled study of the battle site has not been published for fear of provoking further tension.
Questions submitted by the Barnet Society relating to Barnet Council’s role as both landlord and planning authority, and the procedures involved, have so far remained unanswered.

Some years ago there was considerable concern over possible damage to the battle site when industrial landfill was deposited to the east of the Great North Road on a large tract of land administered by the Wrotham Park estate. Trees were subsequently planted over the area.

Accepting landfill to help to pay for re-landscaping is common practice when golf courses are redesigned.  Landfill was used extensively to re-configure the Bridgedown Golf Club on the opposite side of St Albans Road to Old Fold Manor, and landfill is currently being accepted at the Dyrham Park Country Club in Galley Lane where the golf course is being improved. 

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