Controversial plans to replace a golf club with hundreds of homes were revealed yesterday (Tuesday, February 11).

Neighbours have slammed the latest plans to build on Reading Gold Club land in Emmer Green, which include a “commitment” to build a medical centre but with no guarantee this will happen.

The golf club has signed up developer Fairfax and housebuilder Redrow to deliver 249 family homes and provide a medical centre at the current golfing site, as well as turning acres of private land into public green space.

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A public exhibition was held on Tuesday to get feedback from club members and the public on the plans.

Gary Stangoe, general manager of RGC, said: “We have had quite a lot of encouraging feedback but a lot of the community have concerns that they will want to be answered.”

Campaign group Keep Emmer Green said in a Facebook post today it is in “shock, anger and sadness” at the plans.

“Horrendous traffic already”, “Utopian, greedy scheme”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) spoke to half a dozen neighbours at the exhibition, all of whom said they are strongly opposed to the plans.

Neighbours warned of the impact of hundreds of extra cars on narrow streets and said local infrastructure could not cope with the huge numbers of new residents.

They said schools are “oversubscribed” and a medical centre and school was promised at Bugs Bottom but has never been delivered.

Attendees at the exhibition also hit out at the loss of 140 trees but Fairfax said there would be a net gain of 1,000 trees and high quality trees would be kept.

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The design of houses includes potential space for around 500 cars.

Barbara Pigot, who has lived in Emmer Green for 47 years, said she doesn’t think the area can cope.

She said: “The traffic at the moment is horrendous in peak time. Pollution is already over the limit.

“I know we need extra housing, but I don’t think this is the right place to put it.”

The developers say they will widen Kidmore End Road to allow for two-way traffic but this caused further concern over the loss of green verges.

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Jane Lawson, who lives right by the golf club at Brooklyn Drive, called the plan “greedy” and “utopian”.

She and others said the health centre plans would not materialise, pointing to a promise that a school would be built as part of a major development at Bug’s Bottom but did not happen.

Doreen Jones, another neighbour, said a doctor's surgery was also promised at Bug’s Bottom but "never happened".

Neighbours also hit out at “manipulative and biased” feedback forms which asked residents to say if they support or oppose proposals such as ‘a commitment to healthcare investment in Emmer Green’ and ‘a net gain of 1,000 trees’.

One attendee, former RBC councillor Richard Stainthorpe, gave his support to housing development at the site “in principle” but said there are “huge problems” with access and potential future additional development on the South Oxfordshire land.

Andrew Smith, representing Fairfax at the exhibition, said there are currently no plans to develop on the South Oxfordshire land.

What is planned for the site?

Around 80 per cent of the homes will be houses, with a majority offering three bedrooms or more, under the proposal.

Developers plan to offer 30 per cent affordable housing and these homes will be placed across the site rather than just in one section.

The development will be solely on land in RBC, on about a third of the 109-acre site owned by Reading Golf Club.

Around 64 per cent of the development site will be green space, with RGC in total looking to turn 40 per cent of the 109-acre site into publicly accessible green space.

A planning application will be sent to Reading Borough Council (RBC) this spring after feedback from club members and the public is considered.

Why is the golf club being replaced with a housing development?

Reading Golf Club plans to leave the land situated off Kidmore End Road, in Emmer Green, by March 2021 and merge with Caversham Heath Golf Club due to financial losses making it “unviable” to keep both open.

Eighty-three per cent of Reading Golf Club members voted to relocate to Caversham Heath Golf Club.

Mr Stangoe said of the move: “We are looking to build on what is already a great golf club to make it an excellent one.