The Future of
Reading Golf Club
Thank you for visiting this website regarding the future of Reading Golf Club. Here you will find information outlining the club’s plans for the future, including for both its new site at Caversham Heath, and the plans to safeguard the future of the current golf club land at Emmer Green.
Following a comprehensive programme of public and stakeholder engagement, a planning application has now been submitted to Reading Borough Council to take forward the plans for the club’s Emmer Green land.
The decision to move Reading Golf Club away from Emmer Green was not an easy one. The truth is, though, it was recognised in 2017 that the club would likely face insolvency within a few years.
With too few and declining membership numbers, Reading Golf Club was losing significant sums of money. Maintenance costs were spiralling, whilst the fact that the course is surrounded by houses on each side meant there was no opportunity to develop the sort of additional facilities needed to attract new members.
Club collapse was not something any member of the golf club wanted to see happen. Not just because of our personal interests in protecting the future of a club we love, but because of what that would mean for the Emmer Green neighbourhood.
We’ve all read stories about golf clubs failing and their abandoned courses becoming havens for anti-social behaviour, criminality and even violence. That was not something we were willing to allow happen, and that meant we had to compromise.
The plans you see here are a result of that compromise. They have been developed after extensive engagement with club members, local stakeholders and Reading Borough Council. The plans are Reading Golf Club’s attempt to build a new future for the club, whilst leaving a sustainable legacy at Emmer Green that we can be proud of.
Reading Golf Club has purchased a long lease on the existing golf course at nearby Caversham Heath and is in the process of moving to that site. We will leave Emmer Green and cease all operations on our current site no later than 31st March 2021.
This was not an easy decision for the golf club. Many of our members live in Emmer Green, and it is a course we all hold close to our hearts. However years of financial losses, driven in part by escalating maintenance costs and dwindling membership numbers, meant the status quo - remaining at our current site - was not an option.
Caversham Heath gives Reading Golf Club the opportunity to consolidate, grow and retain employment. We will be able to build a new academy course, a practice range and extend the clubhouse - giving us opportunities to attract the next generation of golfers, improve the food and beverage and event offering and provide new health and well-being facilities at the new site.
We are working hard to develop our plans for Caversham Heath, and intend to make it a Top 100 Course - something that will attract golfers from across the UK, and beyond. We have begun conversations with South Oxfordshire District Council, who have indicated early-stage support for Reading Golf Club’s plans at Caversham Heath.
Working with Fairfax Acquisitions we are proposing to develop around 260 homes, extensive new public open and play spaces and a new health centre, on land within the part of our current site that is within Reading Borough.
These plans will unlock the funding required to guarantee the long-term survival of Reading Golf Club at its new Caversham Heath site
Around 30% of the land in Reading Borough will be designated open or play space, with cycle and footpaths planned to connect the new open spaces to the land in South Oxfordshire that is within our site. Overall, more than 65% of the land in Reading Borough will be retained as green spaces.
We propose to convert part of the land within South Oxfordshire into a country park and provide a series of walking and cycle links from Kidmore End Road through to Highdown Hill Road, Gravel Hill and beyond. Space to accommodate 16 allotments forms part of our proposals within South Oxfordshire. More generally, we are committed to delivery of financial contributions towards education, existing open and play spaces and to enable improved leisure provision in the Borough.
Overall, our proposals will see very significant land within Reading and South Oxfordshire become, for the first time, publicly accessible and usable open space.
We are proud of the legacy we will leave to the residents of Emmer Green; it is one that places activity, health and sustainability at its heart.
Trees and Biodiversity
These plans will see all Category A trees retained on site, with all trees removed replaced on-site. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have set aside over 1ha of land to plant a minimum of 1,000 trees. Our plans also commit the club to a minimum 10% net gain in biodiversity within the application site.
We are currently working with the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local surgeries to agree the best use of the new health centre.
In our plans, the new health centre will be located just off Kidmore End Road. Space would be made available in the building for potential use as a community space or cafe.
Transport and Access
Our proposals are built around improvements to public transport. The site has been laid out to accommodate the 23 and 24 bus routes into the site, whilst we are proposing new walking and cycle routes through to our land in South Oxfordshire.
We are also proposing junction improvements to the Peppard Road junction and potentially to the Kiln Road / Caversham Park junction, together with alterations to the verge to the south of our site on Kidmore End Road to enable two-way traffic.
We propose around 260 new, high-quality, sympathetically designed, homes as part of these proposals. 80% of these homes are envisaged to be houses, with nearly 65% offering three bedrooms or more.
These homes will meet demand from across Reading for new, high-quality, family homes with gardens.
Some of the homes developed will be affordable - either for social or affordable rent or sale at below market rates - giving many younger people a real chance to build a life in Emmer Green.
The affordable homes on site will be tenure blind, meaning they will be visually identical to market rate housing and placed around the site, rather than focused in one corner of the development.
These plans have been developed to build a sustainable future for Reading Golf Club, whilst leaving a legacy every club member can be proud of at Emmer Green.
We propose to deliver:
A massive increase in publicly-accessible, usable open space at Emmer Green, including a new country park and allotments
A new health centre for Emmer Green, meeting a real demand
A major investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, with new cycle routes connecting the site to Caversham and on-to Reading Town Centre
A new site for Reading Golf Club that will help make us financially sustainable and a Top 100 Course
Around 260 new family homes, the significant majority of these as family accommodation
An agreement to contribute to both a new Multi-Use Games Area and a Locally Equipped, Accessible Play Area
A minimum increase of 1,000 trees within the golf club’s land and a minimum 10% net gain in biodiversity on-site
Improvements to local roads and footpaths.
We at Reading Golf Club are not property developers. Contrary to the claims of some, we are not acting out of greed or looking to build as many houses as we can in Emmer Green - our plans identify how we’ve done our best to develop a considered approach which gives our club the finances to survive and grow, whilst leaving a sustainable legacy we can be proud of at Emmer Green.