PLANS for an 18-hole golf course on farmland - described as the “lungs of Edgware” - have been rejected.

Green belt land at the site west of Edgwarebury Farm, in Edgwarebury Lane, would have been turned into a course, along with a clubhouse and car parking, if the proposals had gone ahead.

But Barnet Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to turn down the plans in Hendon Town Hall last night (November 26).

The decision was met with relief by spectators in the packed public gallery.

Originally submitted by Tony Menai-Davis in 2013, the plans were withdrawn in 2014, before being resubmitted later that year – only to be withdrawn again.

Speakers from across the political divide lined up to attack the proposals.

Robert Davidson, co-chairman of the Edgware Town Team, said: “It tends to suggest somehow this is rubbish land. That is simply not the case. This land is good enough to farm. Do not be misled into believing this is just land good enough for car parking or golfing.”

Professor Michael Streat, of Glendale Avenue, Edgware, said the plan to narrow the A41 to allow access to the golf course would be a “recipe for disaster”.

Andrew Dismore, Labour GLA member for Barnet and Camden, said: “This has been farmland since before the Romans. This development will dramatically change the shape and appearance of the land.”

He also questioned whether many people would be able to afford to use the facilities, considering the costs of The Shire golf course in High Barnet, also owned by Mr Menai-Davis.

Hendon MP Matthew Offord spoke of its “unique position on the periphery of suburban London”.

The Conservative MP said: “It is the lungs of Edgware, if not the Hendon constituency. It would restrict public access to the land. This would be wholly contradictory to the Barnet plan.”

Conservative councillor Hugh Rayner, who represents the neighbouring Hale ward, described the development as the “rape of farmland in north west London”.

Cllr Rayner added: “Please reject it emphatically, and that should be an end to it.”

Deputy council leader Councillor Dan Thomas, who lives near the site, also voiced his opposition.

He said: “We should be encouraging public access to the green belt. To see the rolling hills and patchwork of green and yellow farmland, you would not believe you are in a London borough. We should retain this in its current form, and not spoil it.”

Edgware councillor Helena Hart said hundreds of residents opposed the “heinous” application for the “much loved and well used” site.

She said nearby golf courses were also “severely undersubscribed”.

But landscape architect Phillip Russell-Vick, speaking on behalf of Mr Menai-Davis, said: “This is a golf course of a very high quality. This is an opportunity for Barnet to have one of the best golf courses in the land. It is not one for private members. This is effectively a public facility.”

He said the Environment Agency had no objections over any flood risk, and there was a “full package” in place to protect wildlife.

Mr Russell-Vick added: “The golf course will improve the situation, and not be to its detriment.

“The land is not open land. I know the public walk the land, but it has no established use as a right of way. Access will be enhanced, not decreased.

“Your own advisors support it. Capita support it.”

Councillors questioned if there was any demand for it, as the committee report said there were 30 golf courses within a ten mile radius, and 19 within five miles.

Labour councillor Jim Tierney said to “give into commercial interests” would be a “great shame and a loss to the community”.

The reason for rejection was given as “inappropriate development” on the green belt.