Fiercely-contested plans to redevelop Reading Golf Club (RGC) in Emmer Green go out to public consultation this week for the first time.
The club, which is merging with Caversham Heath Golf Club in Mapledurham, is to stage a public consultation at its Kidmore End Road premises on Tuesday, February 11 (4pm – 8pm) in conjunction with Fairfax Acquisitions and Redrow homes.
The plans include public open space, a healthcare facility, homes and the addition of more than 1,000 trees. Fears of a possible 700 homes on the 96-acre site had led to controversy but in October 2019 the club published its intentions to build a limited development on the section of the site within the Reading borough while creating a nine-hole course on the larger section which falls within South Oxfordshire.
RGC Chairman Colin Reed told Thames Tap: “Our project is all about providing the members of Reading Golf Club and Caversham Heath Golf Club and all our staff with a long-term future at a top level golf facility and working with the local community in delivering this.
“This new future will ensure that we are best equipped to meet the challenges of the modern golf industry, whilst leaving a legacy we can be proud of.
“In delivering this difficult change, it was very important to the board of Reading Golf Club and our members, that an appropriate legacy was left on our land.
“Working closely with Fairfax Acquisitions and Redrow Homes we are proud of the proposals that will be presented, which we believe meet the challenge of delivering a sustainable future for Emmer Green, including vastly increased publicly accessible open space and a net gain of over 1,000 trees across our site.”
Campaign group Keep Emmer Green (KEG) strongly opposes development of the site and is urging members to attend the consultation. KEG has issued four questions it wants answered:
– Is this just stage one of something much bigger?
– How much green space will be lost?
– How many more lorries and cars will be driving on our already crowded roads?
– What pressures will this place on our public services, from school places to healthcare?
In a newsletter to members, KEG says: “We expect that the proposal being made to the public is only the first step in seeking to obtain planning permission on the whole of the golf course land.
“The previous developer, Wates, together with Reading Golf Club, had indicated that they wished to build around 700 houses across the whole golf course which will give you some idea of the additional number of houses that may be built in the future if the developers get their way.
“We hope that a significant number of you will be able to go to the public engagement next Tuesday (February 11) to look seriously at the ‘plans’ for this development on the golf club land.
“It is important that we are well informed about the developer’s intentions if we are to successfully fight this unwanted and unsustainable development.”
The club will leave Emmer Green, where it has been based since 1910, between October 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
© Thames Valley Property No 197 (tvproperty.co.uk)