June 19, 2024

A fervent plea to overturn the lease decision was made on the third and last day of the High Court lawsuit against Enfield Council, according to James Cracknell.

A strong argument was made on the last day of a judicial review hearing at the High Court to “quashing” the decision made by Enfield Council to lease Whitewebbs Park to Tottenham Hotspur.

The attorney for claimant Sean Wilkinson presented his closing statements and restated one of the main reasons the lawsuit was brought before the judge in the case withdrew to deliberate his conclusion, which he said would take until at least the end of March.

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The court was informed by Alex Goodman KC that the council had neglected to consider the evident and significant fact that leasing to a private training academy contradicted the land’s official intent, which is to be maintained in public trust.

As a “interested party” in the judicial review case, Tottenham Hotspur FC (THFC) is a Premier League team with plans to construct a women’s and girls’ football academy on the northeast corner of the park. On Thursday morning, the club’s attorney made his legal submissions on the club’s behalf.

Regarding the question of whether or not park visitors had complete public access before Whitewebbs Park Golf Course closed in 2021, James Maurici KC informed the court: “The council did not say there was no public access to the golf course; it simply stated that that access was more limited when the golf course was in operation.

The council acknowledged that, for eighteen percent of the whole park area,

“The claimant acknowledges that there was a priority use by golfers, and it is part of their case that any use of the golf course was deferential and they [the public] wouldn’t be able to interfere in play.”

The Spurs women’s and girls’ academy is scheduled to occupy 33% of the leasehold area; this part will eventually be enclosed off from the public. “Approximately 67% of the former golf course land, under our proposals, will be fully publicly accessible – the lease guarantees it will be available for recreational purposes,” THFC’s Maurici explained, outlining what would happen to the remaining portion of the lease. Additionally, it will be accompanied by several ecological and

Mr. Justice Mould chimed in on this point, saying, “That is a judgment for the local authority to make. Not everyone says that is a benefit which should outweigh public recreation.”

In response to the argument that had emerged as a recurring issue in the case, Maurici stated: “Any idea they were unaware it was public trust land is, in my submission, ridiculous.” This was in reference to the July misinformation that the overview and scrutiny committee was allegedly given.

He went on to say that since playing football constituted a “recreational activity” in and of itself, that was how the entire leased space will be used going forward.

Goodman responded to what Enfield Council attorney Matt Hutchings called a “ambush” yesterday (Wednesday) during the afternoon session.

“We kept saying to the council, we need the documents – but the council comes back with nothing, and eventually the claimant has to go to the archives and find the documents for himself,” Goodman said, referring to the fact that the council had only acknowledged last week that Whitewebbs Park was held as statutory public land after Sean discovered evidence of it.

And what actually took place? Due to a lack of primary evidence, the council was forced to accept that the land is held in statutory trust, losing its advantage. Therefore, the council had chosen to ignore what the documents revealed or would reveal regarding the authority granted to it to manage its own park.

However, if their strategy

He went on to say that the council lost the opportunity to “avoid selling off the bit of land that is in public trust” and that this ultimately “influenced their decision” because they failed to prove the existence of the statutory trust before drafting a lease for the property.

Goodman said that since Sean’s discovery of documentary evidence in January, the council has been “trying to obscure and cast a veil over the fact it has adopted a fundamental change of position” throughout the judicial review.

Goodman said, “Both the golf course user and the recreational user,” to the argument raised by THFC’s attorney regarding public access to the golf course.

After a stormy three days of judicial review proceedings, Mr. Justice Mould declared, “I am going to take some time to consider some quite complex and, I suspect, important questions raised by this case.”

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