There would not have been a reason for Wokingham Borough Council to refuse Wycombe Wanderers permission to use Reading FC’s Bearwood training ground, a councillor has said.

The Chairboys have backed off from plans to buy the ground from Reading FC after it emerged that a planning condition said only Reading could use it. It means that Wycombe would have had to apply to Wokingham Borough Council to remove or change that condition.

But Clive Jones, a Wokingham Borough councillor, told BBC Radio Berkshire he believes that the council would probably have had to say yes.

He said: “Personally I couldn’t see any issue. There wouldn’t have been a planning reason to say no, we can’t do that. But it’s just part of the process.”

Reading Chronicle: Clive Jones Clive Jones

Councillor Jones added that he is pleased that Wycombe has backed off from the purchase as he wants Reading FC to be sold along with all of its assets – including Bearwood. The Chronicle understands that such a sale – to a different buyer – is likely to be confirmed this week.

Here, the Chronicle explains why Wokingham Borough Council imposed that condition in the first place – and why it may have had to remove it if Wycombe pressed ahead.

When the council granted permission to build the training ground in 2015, the land was occupied by a former golf course.

Reading Chronicle: Wycombe Wanderers have 'put it on hold' and are 'exploring other options' Wycombe Wanderers have 'put it on hold' and are 'exploring other options' (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

The council said that building a training ground would have gone against its policies that limit development on the countryside. But it decided that the harm done to the countryside would have been outweighed by the benefits of helping Reading FC to stay in the borough.

Council planning officers noted that Reading’s old Hogwood training ground was ‘no longer fit for purpose'. They said Reading needed improved training facilities so its academy could keep its coveted Category One status, and continue attracting investment and players.

They also accepted that the club had been unable to find other suitable sites near Reading, and that moving to Bearwood would allow its ‘strong links to the area and community’ to continue.

Reading Chronicle: Protesters took to Adam's Park on Friday night Protesters took to Adam's Park on Friday night (Image: NQ)

These ‘special circumstances’ wouldn’t have existed for any other club. So the council included the now much chewed over ‘condition 4’ in the planning permission.

This says that permission was ‘personal to Reading Football Club for the purposes outlined in the planning application only'. In other words – only Reading would be allowed to build and use it.

However that doesn’t stop anyone from applying to remove that condition now that the training ground had been built.

To refuse it the council would have to find a reason in planning law or policy that allows it to say no. In other words, it would have to be able to prove that this would cause more harm to the area.

So while the council would probably have been able to stop another club building the training ground in 2015, it may not be able block another club using the ground now that it’s been built.

Happily, the prospect of a sale to Wycombe is receding – and a better deal could be on the cards.