An application to list a golf club where hundreds of homes are planned as a community asset has been rejected by the council.

Campaign group Keep Emmer Green applied to Reading Borough Council (RBC) list Reading Golf Club  (RGC) land as an ‘asset of community value’ (ACV).

The golf club in Emmer Green is at the centre of a controversy over plans to build 260 homes on the Reading part of the land, with the club soon moving to Caversham Heath Golf Club in March 2021.

READ MORE: Huge 260-home plan at Reading Golf Club in Caversham submitted

If the application had been approved,  the community would have been given six months to attempt to raise funds to purchase the land.

RBC said it considered the nomination carefully but decided not to list the asset because it does not meet the criteria to be listed as an ‘asset of community value’.

The council added: “We realise this decision may come as a disappointment.

“We have learnt a great deal from owners challenging our listing decisions in the past, which has highlighted the need for robust evidence and eligibility checks.

“You are welcome to submit a new ACV nomination, if there is new additional information to support your claims of social and community value.”

More than 2,000 people have objected to the 260-home plan at Reading Golf Club, the most objected to planning application ever according to KEG.

READ MORE: More than 2,000 objections to golf club homes plan

Residents and campaigners say the homes will spoil the area and claim there is not enough infrastructure to cope with 260 extra families in the area.

While RGC say the plans will provide a future for the club, provide much-needed family and affordable homes, public green space and healthcare facilities.

In its decision letter, the council outlined three reasons for refusing the application:

1. Eligibility

RBC said the land put forward is not eligible to be listed as an ACV.

The council said: “The nominated land in its entirety is not land of community value under paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations, as it comprises land connected with residential dwellings and an electricity substation.”

2. Lack of evidence of community use

The council said it needs to see strong evidence to support claims of social and community value, whether current use or in the recent past.

It said the nomination mentioned several activities currently taking place, which highlighted a degree of social and community value, but said this use is ancillary to the property’s main use as a golf course which is private for paying members.

The council also said the nomination lacked evidence of support from existing RGC members.

3. Lack of evidence the land could be used by community in the future

RGC plans to move next year and the land has been deemed suitable for redevelopment into 90-130 homes in the council’s Local Plan.

The council said there was “no realistic prospect” of the golf club continuing to operate from the land in the future and said KEG had not come up with an alternative future community use.

RBC said: “The ACV legislation exists to provide a tool for communities looking to take over and run local assets.

“There needs to be a realistic plan for the future management and acquisition of an asset to justify a pause in the sale of one.

“No alternative propositions for the site were presented in [KEG’s] nomination, nor did it provide enough detail or evidence to suggest there was a realistic prospect of a community bid to acquire the property should it be put up for sale. “