Friday, 03 July 2020

Campaign group still unconvinced by reassurances

THE Keep Emmer Green campaign still believes hundreds of homes could be built on the former Reading Golf Club site.

Chairman Julian Ansell said he was unconvinced by the club’s reassurances over the scale of potential development.

He said the club’s plans for between 90 and 130 homes on a
9.2-acre plot within Reading’s boundaries had been deemed unviable, so he believed it would try to build on the entire 28-plus acres within the borough. The club did not address this issue in its statement. The remaining 68 acres in South Oxfordshire, on which the club hopes to retain a nine-hole course, aren’t in the district council’s local plan so could not take substantial housing development.

However, Mr Ansell said the club might still try to build a smaller number of “infill” homes on land near Cucumber Wood.

He said: “I understand they’re going for the whole of the land within Reading borough in an effort to make it viable, which would go against the borough’s local plan as it nears completion. They are already preparing for some kind of development as I’ve seen them carrying out surveys — in fact, they’re doing some drilling which appears to be related to flood drainage.

“I don’t think they’ll go for any development within South Oxfordshire until a later date.

“If they only built on the area earmarked in the Reading local plan and complied with all the relevant policies we’d have to accept that but we’re against anything more.” Annette Fairweather, who chairs Emmer Green Residents’ Association, urged caution.

She said: “We have circulated the club’s statement among our residents but aren’t going to consult them yet because no planning application has been submitted. When this comes forward, we will consult them and base our next actions on their views as it’s important to represent them and not our own personal opinions.

“We like to work on facts and cannot do much more until we know exactly what is going on.”

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