ALL SOULS SUBMITTED plans last month to Barnet County Council for the development of a luxury golf course on land it owns near London.
The Local Residents Association has reacted angrily to the news and has started a petition against the plans. As of Wednesday, 1,400 people had signed the petition, which has also been backed by Hendon and Golders Green MP Matthew Offord.
The Residents association vice chairman, Ralph Simon, said, “At the moment we can walk through here unhindered. It’s one of our best assets and it would be a real shame to lose it. I don’t want this to be the end of our farm – it’s a beautiful, picturesque and peaceful patch of green belt land.”
The land has been owned by All Souls College since the fifteenth century, and has a farm on it that currently employs two people. All legal footpaths will be protected within the current planning application.
A spokesperson for All Souls College stated, “We’re currently putting forward a planning application and doing so within the legality of green belt regulations. We hope that those who oppose it follow the statutory regulations for doing so.”
The total land size is 450 acres and about a third of it will be leased to a developer to build the golf course. Concerns have been raised about whether the area needs another golf course, as there are twenty-one others within a five mile radius of the proposed site.
Other applications for change of use of this land have been denied in the past. This included a plan for a cemetery, which was rejected after local concerns were raised.
Balliol college member and Environment and Ethics officer James Rainey commented, “The local residents association are opposed to plans for a golf course, and I wish them the best of luck.
“Oxford colleges must recognise that their land holdings can be valued assets to local people, and that projects which restrict enjoyment of their surroundings should not be considered further.
“Conversely, plans for the site to improve its value for wildlife should be welcomed, and undertaken regardless of the planning application outcome.”
Barnet County Council stated that they were unable to comment while the application process is in motion.