Plans to build a street of new houses on Sonning Golf Club would be like “selling off the family silver,” councillors were warned – before they gave the scheme the go-ahead.

Sonning Golf Club won planning permission for the scheme from Wokingham Borough Council at a meeting on Wednesday, August 9. Developers outlined a plan for up to 50 houses on a strip of land off pound lane.

But residents, and town and parish councillors warned the plans would mean the loss of green leisure space, increase dangerous traffic and contribute to overdevelopment.

Trefor Fisher from Sonning Parish Council said: “If this application goes through it will be the planning equivalent of selling off the family silver. The difference is the family silver can be bought back.

“This area of prime sports and leisure land in the countryside will be lost to the residents of Sonning and Wokingham Borough forever.”

Nearby residents and golf players warned the loss of a driving range would harm the Golf Club – while the new neighbours would be at risk of flying golf balls.

Local resident John Allen said: “The planned changes to the course will result in properties being in danger of flying golf balls. Already properties of the Charvil side of the course have come under attack from wayward golf balls.”

He added that the club’s plans to introduce virtual indoor putting facilities are akin to “a football game FIFA replacing the premier league.”

Carol Jewell from Woodley Town Council warned the development would damage the environment, harm the climate, and be too far from local shops.

She said she had three objections: “Number one – sustainability. Number two – sustainability. Number three – sustainability.”

READ MORE: Houses on Sonning Golf Club a ‘recipe for disaster’

But Tom Rumble from Woolf Bond Planning argued the plans wouldn’t harm the countryside, and would benefit the area. He said: “This man-made driving range is not pristine, attractive countryside.

“The proposal represents a high quality but sensitive scheme that respects the character of the site and the surrounding area in every respect.”

Councillors on the committee debated whether they could allow the development to go ahead. They worried that the road into the street would be dangerous, that Sonning is becoming overdeveloped, and that the distance from shops made the development unsustainable.

But they also noted council Highway Officers had said the plans were safe, that the council is required to deliver new houses unless the harms significantly outweigh the benefits.

Councillors voted to approve the plans by four to three, adding conditions that the club put up netting and builds a footpath to improve pedestrian access.