The future of Reading Golf Club

The future of Reading Golf Club (updated 18 Feb to reflect information on the banners)

Several of the committee attended the public exhibition on 11 February about the future of the Reading Golf Club site. The club has decided they have to close as it is not economic for them to maintain their grounds, which is not able to support golf all year. There are also too many golf clubs in the area and overall membership is falling at all but the most exclusive clubs. (this is an international problem). The plan is to “merge” with Caversham Heath Golf Club. The proposal outlined is: 1 Some 250 new homes, 80% being houses and nearly 65% being 3 + bed houses, affordable houses (tenancy / sale) which are “tenure” blind.  The house design a bit uninspired and conventional and it would be nice to encourage something a bit more inspired. 2.       A large proportion of the site (40% of the overall club land – in Oxfordshire and Reading) will become a public space (a new public park was the way they were explaining it).  At the moment members of the public have no right to access any of the land as it is all private so that has to be a big win. 3.       Within the area to be developed (30 acres) 64% is to be open Green space ( 37% being public).  Around 25% of the land in Reading Borough will be designated open or play space, with cycle and footpaths planned to connect the new open spaces to the land in South Oxfordshire that is within our site. 4.       Preservation of the Historic woods, 2 allotments, lots of good ideas on tree planting (orchard) which can doubtless be developed. 5.       A mysterious “leisure use” on a relatively small area at the bottom left of the planned public space, they would not provide details (clearly commercial discussions ongoing) 6.       The plan includes an expanded  / relocated health centre (as big as Lidl it was said) with flats over (which seems a bit odd).  The way I heard it this has been developed with the local health centre and is significantly larger than the current one, however there seemed to be lack of clarity as to whether they local health centre would staffing it (i.e. can the surgery get the staff). We have noted in discussions with other developers that the Care Commissioning Group can be difficult to engage with to generate positive support for additional Health Care Facilities – in the centre of Reading we understand they say to developers “not required”. 7.       Traffic. The undoubted transport pressure points were clearly identified on the maps of Reading and there was and explanation about what would have to be done to “mitigate”.  The particular problem is along Kidmore End Road which, because of residents parking on one side of the road, is effectively allows just a single lane of traffic at a time. This will have to be addressed to make this scheme deliverable. Looking more widely in the centre of Reading there are now around 30 schemes at different stages of the planning process or are being built which will add over 7,000 new homes if taken to fruition and there is not a single new health facility nor any changes to the road infrastructure. Also the constant grumble about brownfield developments in Reading is “not more flats”. People want new homes to be built, just not in their backyard! The land to build houses in Reading is very scarce and so, frankly something, has to give. The locals Keep Emmer Green are naturally suspicious about the developer’s intent and don’t trust it not to plot to build on the rest of the site (in Oxfordshire boundary) once the first part is under way. The suspicion about developer’s motives is a national one. I think everyone can understand the need for new homes, but in this case it seems to be “not next to me thanks.” The committee will review its approach over the coming week. A very negative article by Berkshire Live is HERE.