On this page Jacqueline Dodman tells her story of what it is like to be living close to a Golf Course development involving landfill. Jacqueline has set up the Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG). Also see Blunts Farm Blog. When the development started, Blakes Farm was known as Ongar Park, North Weald. The Theydon Bois Action Group now has its own website at http://www.theydonbois-actiongroup.co.uk/

Blakes Golf formerly Ongar Park Golf in North Weald, Essex, is decribed thus.
'A Championship course, designed by renowned course architect Howard Swan, is best described as an inland links. The layout and undulations of the course are totally unique to the area with rolling fairways and sleepered bunkers giving the feel of a traditional seaside links. A unique drainage system involving a grid work of gully pots positioned on all fairways, USGA standard sand based tees and greens enable the
course to be playable in all conditions. Full computerised fairway, tee and green irrigation enable all areas to remain green and lush should there be a lack of rainfall. Tees and greens have been constructed to a size that will mean that the use of temporary greens and mats as teeing points will not be necessary.'

One could assume that the inland links course was sparse because of thousands on tons of building waste that the site sits may prevent the planting of trees?
One could also assume that the site is 'totally unique to the area' because it balances on hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of spoil?
Which in its self is not totally unique!
The 'renowned' course architect Howard Swan quotes on his website that;
'The challenge must be to do as little as one needs, to create the golf course which is couched in nature itself.'
Which is quite ironic really, is importing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of building spoil to create contouring doing as little as one needs?
Is this methodology about making money from circumventing landfill tax or creating a course which is couched in nature itself ?


The following are a chronological sequence of local news paper articles;

12th April 2004 GUARDIAN
LONG-suffering residents living near the Ongar Park golf course at North Weald only have six more weeks to endure lorry loads of soil trundling past their homes.In-filling at the A414 site is still going on but UK Golf and Leisure director George Dilloway has told the Guardian they are almost finished. Epping Forest Council officers have been keeping an eye on the situation and they too have promised residents that only a few more lorry loads are required.The site was raised to the correct levels by last October but large amounts of soil were still needed to fill a hole, which had been dug at the site for clay. Mr Dilloway said all 18 holes had now been constructed and the company hoped to have half the course playable by the autumn and the remainder by 2005. Dave Stallan, North Weald councillor and chairman of the district council's Ongar Park committee, said he was seeking an update and hoped to hold possibly the final meeting in April. UK Golf and Leisure was slammed by councillors last year accusing the firm of "misleading" them over the timescale for soil importation. At the time, Mr Dilloway said the timescale had never included filling the clay hole and said the rest of the in-filling had been completed on schedule. A council spokeswoman added: "It would not be in anyone's best interests to insist that in filling must stop on a certain date regardless, because it would result in an inadequate facility."

30th December 2004 GUARDIAN
‘RESIDENTS who thought they had seen the end of heavy lorries trundling in and out of Ongar Park Golf Course, off the A414 at North Weald, have been told to expect up to 1,000 more lorry movements.The bombshell came after it emerged that UK Golf and Leisure, the company building the course, has broken its planning permission and brought too much soil on to the site. However UK Golf and Leisure manager George Dilloway said it had not taken in any more material than agreed and the store was going up soon, in accordance with the plans. Epping Forest Council's area plans committee members voiced their anger and voted to take a hard line with the company and make it remove the material. The meeting heard the extra material would lead to a store building being five metres higher than agreed. They had considered working with the company to spread out the extra material so it would not have too bad an impact on the height of the store building. North Weald councillor Ann Grigg said: "The working group set up by the council attempted to work with this company and there was quite a lot of meetings, but at the end the group took a very hard line and said no more and now we find despite that they flouted it. "A very hard line has to be taken." Fellow village councillor Dave Stallan added: "The village has suffered enough for a number of years. I'm sure residents will not be happy with more lorries but we should be sending out a clear signal."The council's assistant head of planning, Barry Land, said: "About two to three weeks ago we received a number of complaints from local residents of a considerable number of lorry movements. We had been informed that all lorry movements have finished." Councillors voted 6-2 to take enforcement action, despite voicing fears that the soil will simply be trucked through North Weald, Epping and Theydon Bois to the company's other golf course at Blunts Farm.Mr Land confirmed this could mean between 600 and 1,000 lorry movements. Mr Dilloway told the Guardian they would appeal against the enforcement notice, adding: "I would disagree. We bought in the material as agreed to finish the area off."

The following links to the minutes of the EFDC Ad Hoc Special Committee Ongar Park and Blunts Farm.







rds.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/Data/Area%20Plans%20Subcommittee%20C/20041215/Agenda/Agenda.PDF?ku=22272926$twn page 28-29