Golf Club homes plan moves to next stage as Vistry take site on
PLANS for hundreds of homes to be built at Reading Golf Club are moving ahead more than a year after the development was first approved.
There were 4,000 objections in March last year, but the 223-home development was approved as an outline application.
Now further details have been made by Vistry, which bought the plan from applicants Fairfax.
At a recent meeting of Reading Borough Council’s planning committee, the scheme’s Construction Method Statement was discussed. This lays out how construction will take place, including the demolition of existing buildings and construction traffic management.
Concerns were raised over traffic delays near the entrance to the site at the junction of Kidmore End Road and Chalgrove Way.
Helen Lambert, the chairman of the Caversham and District Residents Association, said the traffic would be “a toxic mix” due to the narrowness of the road, its presence on bus routes and as a way to nearby schools.
She said it is “critical” strong measures are put in place so that traffic issues are not exacerbated.
Cllr Simon Robinson (Conservative, Emmer Green) called for a decision to be delayed, questioning whether Vistry’s traffic management plan would work in practice.
Representatives of Vistry ensured the committee construction deliveries would take place outside school dropoff times and a manager will be on site to address any issues.
The construction method statement was approved, with the details of the development also considered during the meeting. The construction methods were considered first, then details of design, and energy supply.
There was also frustration over the reversal of a promise for all the homes to be heated through air source heat pumps.
Although air source heat pumps were specified when the plan was approved on outline, Vistry reduced that to 81 homes on the advice of energy provider SSEN, with the rest heated through gas boilers.
Cllr Josh Williams (Green, Park) said: “The missing air source heat pumps is a failure of the original developer to check what was possible on the site. That developer and that application made promises they simply couldn’t keep.”
He argued the outline plan was unviable, saying: “Perhaps I was right to vote against it after all?”
Cllr Williams also lamented that the committee’s ‘hands are tied’ due to the approval of the outline plan, and raised fears that gas boilers in the new homes “could be burning for decades”.
A condition was added that the capacity for installing air source heat pumps be regularly reviewed. Another change included the housing mix, with Vistry changing the plan to provide more three-bedroom and less two-bedroom homes.
Meanwhile, the proposed appearance of the development was praised.
Cllr Jan Gavin (Labour, Caversham) said: “I was absolutely delighted to see the layout, the plan, the appearance. I think this is a high quality development, a like the character areas, I like the different style of brick and colours. It creates a unity but yet distinct areas.”
All the detailed plans were approved by the planning committee on March 29, with Green Cllr Williams voting against details relating to the energy policy.
The approved applications can be viewed by typing the references into the council’s planning portal:
230024 – Construction Method Statement
221312 – changes to housing mix, energy policy and more
220930 – appearance