Saturday, 08 December 2018 18:37

Earthworks remodelling Barnet golf course

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Diggers at work at the Old Ford Manor Golf Club, but are planning conditions being observed? Diggers at work at the Old Ford Manor Golf Club, but are planning conditions being observed?
Earthworks remodelling Barnet golf course For some weeks past a constant stream of tipper lorries has been unloading top-soil and sub-soil at the northern end of the Old Fold Manor Golf Club, Hadley Green, where extensive landscaping of the golf course is about to start.

Improvements include the creation of a driving range with six covered range bays, a short game academy course and a raised safety bund – or mound – of between one and four metres in height that will run alongside the club’s boundary with the St Albans Road.

There was considerable controversy before the scheme was finally approved in August 2017 because the club is within the designated battlefield site of the 1471 Battle of Barnet, and the 2.5 hectares course includes wetland habitat with great crested newts and grass snakes said to be among the amphibians and reptiles present or close to the development zone.

Entry to the site from St Albans Road is by way of a temporary access road that has been opened across farmland on the Barnet site of the Green Dragon public house. Initially it was said up to 8,000 loads of landfill would be needed and strict conditions on both lorry delivery and excavation work were imposed by Barnet Council and Hertsmere Borough Council when they granted planning permission:

  • No more than nine lorry deliveries per hour in any one day, starting at 7.30am. No operation on Sundays. • Lorries should enter and exit the site by way of the A1 and M25 via Junction 23 roundabout (avoiding Barnet town centre). • Installation of wheel-cleaning facilities.
  • Restoration of the temporary access road to arable farm land after three years. • Protection of a pond and wetland habitat adjacent to the landfill site and haul route with amphibian proof fencing.
  • Erection of membrane or straw bales to reduce silt run off into nearby ditches. During the extensive consultations that preceded planning approval, changes were made to the scheme, including a reduction of one metre in the height of the mounding alongside St Albans Road and an acceptance of a phased programme for felling a line of 44 poplars that mark the club’s boundary.

After representations made on the Barnet Society’s behalf by David Lee, the developers agreed to phase the tree felling over five years with up to ten poplars being cut down each year. There will also be a 75 per cent increase in the number of new trees.

Diggers at work in the grounds at the Golf ClubThey will include extensive deciduous woodland and hedgerow planting. Other new features will include the planting of a wild flower grass land, a ditch to a new wildlife pond and bird and bat boxes.

As a result, woodland consultants believe there will be an “overall positive impact on the habitat available to local wild life species and result in a net biodiversity gain.”

Originally opposition to the scheme centred on the golf course being within a designated battlefield site.

However, on-going archaeological research by the Battle of Barnet Project has suggested that the Battle of Barnet took place in fields to the north and north-east of the golf course.

A metal detector survey of the site satisfied Historic England that none of the material recovered – including some 16th/17th century coins – related to the Battle of Barnet and no metal artefacts were earlier than the 17th century.

On the basis of this report, consultants advised that if the battle was fought across the golf course, the area “played a peripheral role, if involved at all” and that there will be a “neutral impact” on the battlefield designation. Nonetheless the Battle of Barnet project has alerted Historic England to the fact that the haul route for incoming lorries with top soil is across fields that were also in the designated battlefield area.

Another on-going concern is the need to ensure that the top-soil and sub-soil being deposited on the site is not contaminated.

When the Shire London golf course on the other side of St Albans Road was first developed – then it was known as Bridgedown Golf Club – there was a sustained campaign by local residents to stop landfill being dumped on fields where larks used to nest each spring. Volunteers from Barnet Society and SPACES community group in Alston Road formed a rota to monitor deliveries.

After their complaints that they believed medical waste was included in the landfill, tighter controls were introduced to prevent the dumping of contaminated material.

Old Fold Manor Golf Club’s course was first laid out in 1909, and in the following year Harry Colt, who designed the Augusta course used by the US Masters, was brought in to undertake a redesign.


  • Comment Link Monday, 17 December 2018 18:24 posted by A driver

    I don't think they have wheel cleaning facilities! The road all the way from the Green Dragon to the South Mimms roundabout is in a shocking filthy muddy state, carried off the site by lorries.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:27 posted by Another Driver

    No apparent wheel cleaning plant on site. No apparent protection to drainage gullies and ditches. Mud on road and on tyres of lorries from site on public highway. No apparent road sweeping/mud collecting taking place, just water being sprayed on the muddy road. Problem appeared intermittent at first now fairly constant. Road left heavily mired, slippery and dangerous including overnight. Highway is only being cleared by passage of other vehicles. Three years to go? Sadly pretty normal practice on commercial landfill operations including those marketed as golf course improvements despite stipulations in planning applications and of course highway regulations. Responsible authority is apparently Hertfordshire County Council Highways Department (who have been informed) and not Hertsmere and Barnet as widely assumed, Concerned parties should log a report on the Hertfordshire County Council website. It is worth uploading pictures of mud on road, mud on wheels of lorries on road and water being sprayed on road by road sweeper vehicle with brushes raised.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 26 December 2018 18:48 posted by Huw Pryce

    I think the line "... where larks used to nest in Spring." Says a great deal about the efficacy of this sort of environmental consultation.

  • Comment Link Friday, 28 December 2018 19:32 posted by Ray Peak observation and memory from NZ,by an ex Barnetonian,with many generations of knowledge of this entire area.
    .Summer walks,via the Stile beside the Alloments,being shown how to avoid swishing golfballs and irate golfers,dashing between the Black and White footpath markers,checking out birds nests,in the Coppice and imagining the slaughter of 1471,from this slightly elavated position, before we emerged from this Public Footpath in St Albans Rd.
    Springtime would see us as boys,exploring the 'Bomb craters' a line of water filled hollows,surrounded by hedge and trees and collecting armfulls of Pussy Willow, or looking for frogs,toads ells newts and grass snakes and dragon flies,a haven for low nesting birds.
    My belief,is that the Battle of Barnet was fought in the low ground west of Wrotham Park ,and that soil movement has and may unearth some treasures held beneath ...but my condolences to Mr and Mrs Naylor and the Green Dragon pub and residents of the upgraded Barns re the condition of the New Road......Progess eh !

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 12 February 2019 21:05 posted by Sheila Cook

    St Albans Road is still being left in a dangerous, muddy and stoney condition on a daily basis. I emailed the golf club recently about road conditions and lack of warning signage. A few hours after receiving my email, the golf club sent me 19 photos of the road surface looking clean and several signs all standing to attention and freshly washed! They said that the road surface and the signs were always clean and visible. Regular road users know this is not correct. The golf club even suggested I contact the site manager myself to put forward my concerns, I pointed out that as the work was being carried out for the golf club they were obliged to deal directly with the construction company to rectify the concerns of road users and golf club neighbours.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 14 February 2019 01:29 posted by Another Driver

    If people are finding issues with mud on St Albans Road they should report it to Hertfordshire County Council's Highways Department, preferably with photographs and details of exactly when and where they were taken. The section of road between the site and the M25 is Hertfordshire County Council's responsibility and not Barnet's or Hertsmere's. Reports can be made on the Highways Department website:

    or by phone: 03001234047

    As road fouling by landfill operations is by its nature very susceptible to weather conditions it can be very variable day to day and at different times on a given day. Such operations should have vehicle cleaning equipment on site adjacent to the road access. This plant is readily available and its cost is not excessive for a large scale operation such as this from which large receipts from accepting landfill can be expected. If Hertfordshire receive sufficient evidence of a problem they can call on the contractors to bring in such facilities.


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