One of the most unpopular planning applications in the town’s history was refused last night, leaving the future of the land at the old Reading Golf Club uncertain.

The application for 257 homes received more than 3,000 objections and was recommended for refusal by Reading Borough Council (RBC) planning officers.

Members of the Planning Applications committee rejected the plans unanimously on Wednesday evening (July 21), with concerns raised including the loss of open space, trees, increased traffic congestion, and overdevelopment.

READ MORE: Homes plan at golf club attracts record backlash with more than 3,000 objections

Local ward councillor Simon Robinson said it would be a “tragedy” to lose the green space and “we should not be building on green space”, claiming there are enough brownfield sites to build on.

He raised concerns about “misery” to residents from congestion and pollution and said another 257 families “could be disastrous” for the area.

Calling the proposed health centre an “empty gesture”, he also said most positive comments were from Reading Golf Club directors, former directors and members, or people not living in the area.

And he suggested the fact members being told they could receive a six-figure sum if the development goes ahead might explain overwhelming support from members for the proposals.

Concluding, he urged the committee to “resign the proposal to the bin of rejection where it belongs”.

Councillor Jane Stanford-Beale, a fellow Peppard ward member, said there would be green fingers of space but not enough for children to play in and “they don’t provide a green link through the site.

She said people would have to walk through ancient woodland and down a slope to get to the land being offered in South Oxfordshire land and it is “too far” of a walk.

Cllr Stanford-Beale also said there are “too many houses being cramped into the space.”

Councillor John Ennis, former lead member for housing, said he was torn because people from Reading are struggling to get housing in the town.

But he said the plans raised “more questions than answers” and called for more dialogue and a more sustainable development.

While councillor Karen Rowland said: “This is not the answer, this is heavy, this is too much development to really enjoy the open space.”

Praising many parts of the plan, she called for the developer to come back with “a better, more sane and rational answer”.

A spokesman for campaigners Keep Emmer Green said: “We are extremely happy that our council have voted to unanimously refuse the planning application.”

READ MORE: Community group unveils alternative 100-acre green space plan for Reading Golf Club site

Former councillor Clare Grashoff spoke at the meeting on behalf of the group and said the plans had “deeply upset and angered” residents and they would likely fight any future applications on the site.

Another former councillor Richard Stainthorpe spoke in favour of the application, highlighting the open green space being provided in South Oxfordshire, while the agent for Reading Golf Club highlighted benefits such as 35 per cent affordable housing and a reduction in carbon.

But RBC’s planning manager Julie Williams said officers had told Reading Golf Club they should provide more land in Reading Borough or risk refusal.

The agent requested the plans be deferred, claiming not enough time was given to respond to council officers’ reasons for refusal but the committee chose to reject the application, calling for a better plan to be tabled after dialogue with the community.