Monday, 30 November 2020

Residents opposed to homes plan for golf course

SCORES of people have objected to plans to build houses on a golf course in Emmer Green.

Part of the land owned by Reading Golf Club in Kidmore End Road could be sold to make way for up to 130 homes and a new clubhouse.

The 3.75 acres were included in Reading Borough Council’s draft local plan, which was published last year.

However, most of the rest of the course is in South Oxfordshire and residents fear the entire course could be sold for development.

More than 160 people responded to a public consultation that took place from November to January.

The vast majority of respondents expressed serious concerns about the infrastructure and opposed development in the area, a council report said.

It said: “This proposal would be dependent upon the golf club being able to secure land for two replacement holes, which would almost certainly be within South Oxfordshire.

“South Oxfordshire District Council does not have an in-principle objection to additional land being used as part of the golf course but proposals will need to be treated on its merits.

“More recently, we understand that the golf club has been discussing with its membership an aspiration to release the whole site, which is within both Reading and South Oxfordshire, for development, which it believes can deliver several hundred new homes.

“This proposal… has not been formally put forward to Reading Borough Council for consideration, either for inclusion in the local plan or as a planning application.

“As such, the council has in no way advocated or endorsed this proposal, nor provided any formal comments to the golf club on it.

“It is not included within the local plan for Reading or for South Oxfordshire. There are clearly a number of significant issues that would need to be taken into account with such a proposal and would need to be assessed if and when it is formally submitted.

“It would also require extensive co-operation with South Oxfordshire District Council. This would, of course, require further consultation, either as part of the local plan or as a planning application.”

Some respondents had no objection to the smaller site but object to the development of the entire course. Others object to any residential development at all.

They also raised concerns about traffic congestion and the impact on highways, while others were worried about road safety and limited parking.

Many respondents also expressed concern about other sites for development just over the border within South Oxfordshire, particularly the Gladman proposal for 245 homes on Peppard Road on the edge of Emmer Green and the cumulative effects of development on infrastructure and traffic congestion.

Many people also said the golf course was inhabited by wildlife, providing a tranquil setting where locals could experience nature.

Residents had observed deer, bats, foxes, owls, red kites and badgers.

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