Reading Golf Club’s plans for 223 homes at its former course at Emmer Green go before councillors on Wednesday (March 2) with a recommendation for approval.

The fiercely-contested proposal, which has attracted 4,500 objections, is a revised scheme after the original plan for 257 homes was refused in July 2021. That plan has gone to appeal which opened on February 21.

Now Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee will meet on March 2 (brought forward from its original March 30 slot) to consider the plans for 223 homes, put forward by the club and its development partner Fairfax.

The officers’ recommendation is to grant permission so long as a s106 agreement is signed by March 31.

The Kidmore End Road development, which covers a 12.5-hectare section of the course within Reading borough (the first and 18th holes), includes a 30 per cent allocation of affordable homes (67 properties). Homes across the scheme range from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses.

A health centre which formed part of the previous proposal has been dropped in favour of expansion of Emmer Green Surgery.

A spokesman for the club said: “We are pleased that the council have recommended approval.  This follows an extensive and diligent redesign to reduce the number of properties which has significantly increased the amount of green space.

“Additionally, the development now provides considerably more homes that are suitable for families along with much needed affordable houses.”

A spokesperson for the Keep Emmer Green (KEG) campaign which has been fighting the proposals, said: “Bringing forward the meeting to March 2 was a shock to KEG and the thousands of residents who were led to believe there was a further four weeks before the planning applications committee would meet to decide on the application.

“KEG is working hard to ensure all voices are heard but restrictions on debate time to just five minutes for each side is not helpful.”

KEG also sent a statement to its members in which it criticised the affordable homes allocation, which includes 26 two-bedroom homes, a size KEG argues is currently oversupplied in Reading.

Former Peppard ward councillor Clare Grashoff had opposed the scheme as a councillor but stood down in May to go into teaching. However, she is continuing the fight as a local resident and will be speaking at the meeting.

She told Thames Tap: “While residents are extremely disappointed by the officers’ recommendation, the final decision has not yet been made and we feel confident that those who have been elected to represent the people of Reading will listen to the incredible and entirely valid groundswell of opposition to this unsustainable development which makes a mockery of the Local Plan, flies in the face of Reading’s own planning policies and removes vital recreational and ecological open space from our community.”

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