Objection letter against exclusive golf course on historic Bury Farm
Planning Application H/04377/13:
Land West of Edgwarebury Farm House
I object to the above planning application for the following reasons:
1. The area of proposed development is in the green belt
This is a narrow and vulnerable part of the Green Belt and represents unspoilt countryside. The development proposal will not only mean building on the green belt but it will also dramatically change the shape, contours and appearance of the land, as golf course obstacles will be built through landfill to create a different landscape altogether. Hundreds of acres will be lost forever.
Well used public right of way footpaths, tracks and bridleways, not shown on the plans of the site but which are clearly there on any inspection of the site (as I have done) will be closed off and public informal recreational space for walking and horse-riding will be lost, reducing valuable local public amenity.
The ancient hedgerows crossing the land would also be destroyed or seriously damaged.
2. Access to the site from A41 is restricted and dangerous
When the Car Boot sale was operating from this same site near to the Spur Road roundabout before it was required to close down, it created traffic mayhem. It was dangerous to cross the road by foot, especially as this is a main route to the M1, via junction 4. It would be irresponsible for the site to be accessed from Edgware Way unless considerable widening was to take place on this road. In fact, the plans achieve the opposite with a de facto narrowing of the road to create turns into the site. This will lead to traffic congestion and danger especially to fast moving larger vehicles as they come across the right turn points to access the site. The speed limit on the road is regularly ignored, and traffic surveys done on a quiet Saturday are not representative of normal usage of the road. Cyclists will also be endangered.
It is likely that many users would try to access the golf course via Edgwarebury Lane, adding to congestion and road safety problems there, too.
We are already seeing the consequences of major development with inadequate improvements to road capacity in the area. Queues from Stonegrove to the A41 are a common occurrence which will worsen as those existing developments progress. A golf course will make this bad situation even worse.
The site is on a red route and cars attempting to access the site will cause fast moving traffic to stop suddenly. This is especially important considering how close the site is to the London Academy.
3. Wildlife habitat will be destroyed by this development
As one of the only sites of its kind in the London area, it has become home to a unique ecosystem and any development on this site threatens to destroy an area of important wildlife in the Green Belt. There is a wide diversity of birds, including lapwings (one of the rare ground nesting sited for this species), skylarks, sparrows, pheasants and kestrels. Mammals on the site include badgers, rabbits and bats, and reptiles include grass snakes and slow worms.
4. Loss of farm land and existing business
This land has been used for farming since before the Romans conquered Britain. It is highly probable that the farm on this land is the oldest and largest surviving farm in London. It has been used as farmland for over 500 years.
It is unlikely that the current farm usage, involving pasture for horses will be able to continue to operate due to the feasibility. The associated stable business and farm shop will also be destroyed.
5. Impact on utilities
There is considerable high density development in the immediate vicinity already, in Barnet, Harrow and Hertsmere. The impact on utilities, for example water supply and drainage has not been fully considered. The flood defences for Edgware , only recently constructed, could be compromised by such development.
6. High density of existing golf courses and lack of demand
If approved, this will be the 22nd golf course within a five-mile radius of Edgwarebury Lane. There is insufficient demand to support the existing number of established courses and therefore this business will not be successful. It will also threaten even further the viability of the existing golf courses and clubs. If the development is allowed to go ahead, and the business does not succeed, the door will have been opened to further unwelcome development.
Please note that when the application comes before the Planning Committee I will wish to speak at the meeting to amplify the above objections.
London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden