Council Proposing to Close Perivale Park Golf Course – and create a new regional park.

As you can see from the map below, Perivale park abuts a golf course. Ealing council are proposing that this course be converted into a new regional park. Quoting Peter Mason, leading of the council “the Elizabeth II Park has transformed the east of London and this new regional park has the potential to have similar positive effect on the borough and West London” This is apparently part of the promise to “residents (of Ealing) 10 new parks and 50,000 more trees”.

We are fortunate that this golf course is very visibly part of the river Brent flood plane, and indeed once or twice a year when the sluice gates at the Welsh Harp reservoir are opened, the entire golf course turns into a lake! So no housing development then! Indeed, one might imagine that one creative theme for any new  park would include a wetlands, extending the relatively small scrape ponds already present in the park itself.

Although we are residents of the area, as non-golfers we were only able to wander across the golf course during lock-down, when we first appreciated the wonderful mature trees that are present there. Let’s hope those are retained, and not chopped down to make way for 50,00 new trees! The track record I have to say for new trees in the area is rather mixed; the tree planted to celebrate Platinum Jubilee day is now looking pretty dead.

We will watch carefully how this proposal develops, but I for one am very much for it!

6 Replies to “Council Proposing to Close Perivale Park Golf Course – and create a new regional park.”

  1. Dear Henry

    I’m a keen golfer and play on Perivale Park Golf course two or three times a week. I’m pretty sure we will never see eye to eye on closing the course. Like you though I love walking across the course (without my clubs) enjoying the trees and the wildlife. I’ll be perfectly honest with you if the course closed and the next day work started on the new park well if be sad but at least I would feel that the sacrifice had been worthwhile. But they do seem in a mighty big hurry to close it (1 April 2024 they are saying) I believe they will close it and just let it run wild until it is do overgrown that it would be financially impossible return it to a golf course. Anyway that’s enough from me. I attach two emails that have been sent to all Ealing councillors. I’m hoping you might publish them on your site just to give a broader view.

    Thank you very much
    David Chapman

    Dear Counsellor Knewstub

    I am writing to you on behalf of the committee and members of Perivale Park Golf Club.

    I think it was obvious from the response from  myself and Bhupinder of your intention to close the golf course that we were devastated by the news. We were not expecting this, especially as the Club and the course are flourishing. Needless to say we do intend to vigorously oppose this proposal.

    Chris Bunting’s figures that the golf course is not paying its way is I suspect based on 2022 figures when everything was post Covid and moving slowly. Since then there has been a massive boost in golf activity, with Every one Active and Perivale Park Golf Club working closely to increase numbers.I think that if Chris checks numbers for 2023 the sums might be different. I believe for instance that 500+ golfers (old and young, casual and regular, women and men) played on the course this weekend.

    On the question of commercial viability we would also like to say that it is our understanding that Everyone Active are keen to continue managing both Perivale and Brent Valley contracts plus the athletics track. We can hardly imagine that they receive a massive subsidy from Ealing Council so presumably they consider the whole package viable.

    Historically the course has served the community since 1930 when it was established as an 18 hole course. So it has been here for nearly 100 years. Later it became a 9 hole course with the land from the other holes being used to create football and cricket pitches.

    What does strike us is the urgency with which you wish to close the course. You seem under the impression that it is impossible for the golf course to be part of the Regional Park with other park users. This we must point out is a fallacy. Municipal courses up and down the country share their facilities with dog walkers and other park users. In fact this very point was made to us by your own Council Officers during discussions over the Greenford Gurnell Greenway scheme. As golfers we know the course intimately and if given the opportunity will be able to tell you where other park users can further access the natural landscape in a safe, policed environment.

    I felt that when you came you were expecting an elitist club and clientele. This is not the case at Perivale. It is an unpretentious golf club catering for all. It is a very diverse group of people with golfers of all ages and ethnicities. The course is particularly suitable for older and less able players who can enjoy 2 hours of good quality exercise without a buggy or a scooter.

    As well as playing golf, members enjoy social contact and enduring friendships. Many players will tell their stories of how being part of the Club has helped their mental well being.

    The names of nearby clubs, Ealing, West Middlesex and Sudbury suggested as alternative venues failed to take in to account that they are private clubs with membership fees of £1700 – £2300. Well outside the remit of most PPGC members. Brent Valley the other municipal course is an undulating 18 hole area very difficult for many people to negotiate. At Perivale the annual cost of a season ticket for 5 days is between £288.50 – £390 depending on your age and for 7 days is £620.00 and £30 or £50 for membership.

    As well as the course, the cafe is a social hub where golfers, walkers, runners, cyclists, local residents and clients and carers from the local disability organisations, plus many others are able to meet up and socialise. If the cafe closed it would be a major loss to both the local and wider West London community that has access to this invaluable service.

    I have looked at your ‘Strategic Perspective’ for the Ealing Regional Park and the ‘Why we are doing this ‘ statement and it seems to me that the PPGC ticks most of the boxes.  From the green perspective I think the answer is in the name, Perivale PARK. It is a green space! The course is well maintained to encourage biodiversity especially along the river banks, the wooded copses, the large long grass areas and the hedgerow. Do you know for example that the mown grass from the fairways is used to mulch the rough and course edges? Felled trees are being logged and allowed to decay naturally in the wooded areas around the course. Generally the management of golf courses is now more environmentally aware than was previously the case.

    If there is a need to plant more trees we would be delighted. One of the criticisms we hear from visitors is that the course could be more challenging. More trees would help in that direction. In most other courses saplings have been planted. They are staked, protected and the area around them designated ground under repair, so golfers avoid it. There is possibly no better area for new trees to thrive than on a golf course.

    It appears strange to me that a Labour Council would want to close down a low cost leisure facility, that is environmentally friendly, provides physical and mental well being for the community and seems compliant with what Ealing Council is aiming to achieve.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Leslie Glancy
    Club Captain.

    TO ALL EALING COUNCILLORS

    RE: CLOSURE OF PERIVALE PARK GOLF COURSE EALING COUNCIL CABINET MEETING 13 SEPTEMBER 2023.

    While I appreciate that Councillor Knewstub cannot be expected to be a golf expert her  report at Wednesday’s Ealing Council cabinet meeting seems to contain a number of inaccuracies and wrong assumptions that I do want to challenge, especially as the in principle decision made was to close Perivale Park Golf Club!

    1. First of all I would refer her to a recent report by the BBC (carried out by the PGA), that states ‘More than 16 million people in the UK and Ireland played some form of golf in the past 12 months’ of those  4.9m play traditional golf. This is much higher than the 1.5% that councillor Knewstub reported to the council cabinet. It actually equates to around 7%. 

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/66772678

    2. Referring to Perivale Park Golf Course. I thank Councillor Knewstub for acknowledging its flatness and suitablity for the older golfer. She said ‘from the data that we have there are  around 150 to 160 members last year and we have no indication that is increasing’.

    I  think she needs to clarify this. Does she mean members of Perivale Park Golf Club which play it’s competitions on the public course? If that is the case I  can tell her that over the last seven years it’s membership has grown and continues to grow. 

    I must stress however, that as a golfer, I share the course with club members and  members of the public who use it on a pay and play basis.

    The course is fundamentally a pay and play course with season ticket options. The total number of users in a year is probably several times the number of club members. This includes players of all ages, genders and very diverse ethnic backgrounds.

    The other courses in or around Ealing are either 18hole golf clubs without a 9 hole option or hilly or both – many users at Perivale Park are older and physically limited and simply can’t play them. However they do need the exercise they get at Perivale Park. All users benefit hugely from the social interaction they get during and after the round; this mental health benefit is as valuable as the physical benefit.

    3. Referring to Perivale Park Golf Course she said ‘we see high numbers of people using the golf course repeatedly we don’t see a very broad number of people using it at all’

    Sorry,  that statement is like saying that you see the same people playing week after week on a football pitch. Well, yes you will if it’s the clubs home football ground. Of course you see people using Perivale Park repeatedly, they regard it as their home course. People will play there two, three and even four times a week.

    The fact is that in spite of being asked, no evidence has been produced  to show that Perivale Park Golf Course actually makes a loss and is a burden on the council tax payers of Ealing. 

    4. In responding to an opposition question asking why the  administration is proposing to close Perivale Park Golf Course at such short notice before substantive assessment of usage and before consultation with the many golfers and other users such as walkers, dog walkers and joggers / runners who don’t play golf. Councillor Costigan replied

    ‘we’re bringing it forward at this point because of the time it is in the season so we wanted to raise this with the golf course at this point so there is time to have discussions and do a consultation before they you know start the season off again next year.’

    My response is that, at Perivale, I and many others play golf all year round and we can quite happily continue playing golf while discussions on future provision continue. I think the real reason Ealing Council is so keen to rush through the closure of Perivale Park Golf Course now is that they see it as a major hindrance to their regional park scheme. Perivale Park Golf Club were only informed about this potential closure on Tuesday 5th September 2023 and now after only 8 days the cabinet decision has already been taken to in principle to close it down.

    I can see only too clearly what you would like to happen. Perivale Park Golf Course closes and remains completely uncared for while plans proceed for the regional park and then, even if there were the slightest chance of the golf course somehow surviving and being part of the new park, it would be so overgrown that it would be beyond any reasonable economic possibility to return it to a golf course. There is every chance we could have another Warren Farm in the making! Ealing Council are just being totally totally cynical.

    David Chapman

    A pensioner who plays on Perivale Park Golf course three times a week

  2. Thanks Dave for your very informative comment. I think it important to continue to explore the many aspects of this proposal and to establish if possible as many of the facts that underpin it. As part of my efforts to do this, I have contacted the trustees of the Ealing Parks Foundation, who are supposed to act on behalf of park users by liaising with Ealing Council. I continue to await their reply,, which I will post here when it comes. I think we should all do our best to find out what is happening, and when it is happening.

  3. Dave, can I add to your comment, the financials I discovered and which I posted earlier:

    “Revenue expenditure of £0.075m for 2023/24 and 2024/2025 to support closure of the golf course and for rewilding and transformation of the golf course to park land”

    This is a very small amount of money to cover what would be “maintenance” of the area for two years through to 2025, particularly since only part of this would be devoted to “rewilding and transformation”. This does tend to support your assertion that “it would be so overgrown that it would be beyond any reasonable economic possibility to return it to a golf course.”.

  4. There is a lot of potential there, and we only have to look at other parks to pick up the ideas and run with them. I have always thought Greenford with its marvellous Art Deco was so neglected, and put at the bottom of the pile when it comes to show casing anything. Ealing, Hanwell have more care and thought put into their parks – there areas in general. I am from Sutton Coldfield in the midlands, which has one of the largest nature reserves in Europe – wild ponies roam and wild life is abundant with great facilities for children and families. The council are asking for ideas to develop this park. I would like to see a paddling pool for the kids like in Sutton Coldfield, or a mini golf like in Acton, but FREE and developed cost affectively. or mini zoo like in Hanwell, concrete table tennis tables as in Isleworth and good facilities, buildings for groups to be created. Indoor swimming pools, but what about the people who can not swim well – carefully thought out pools that serve all. It is more about the design and sometimes the design puts people off. Sheltered areas with picknick tables. Its OK to build flats, but people need to get out and fun facilities and parks are good for their health, heart and wellbeing.

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