Recommendation: Conditional Approval, subject to Legal Agreement.
Proposal: Redevelopment of Former Bearwood Golf Course to provide a new football training ground and academy facility, comprising of 3 full size team pitches, 7 other pitches for use by various under 18 age groups and a goal keeping practice areas. A single storey extension and conversion of existing golf course clubhouse into security gatehouse and visitors café; new maintenance shed and maintenance store. Single storey changing block and medical suite. Refurbishment of West Lodge for junior academy trialists; refurbishment of apple store; retention and refurbishment of riding stables offices/stores to academy offices; new single storey academy building to provide changing rooms, medical suite, classrooms, player recreation and gymnasium area. Refurbishment of Mole Lodge to provide accommodation for senior academy trialists; new two storey first team building; single storey headquarters building. The refurbishment/rebuilding of existing housing and farm/industrial buildings to provide 26 residential units (net increase of 18 residential units) with associated parking, landscaping and access. Demolition of ancillary buildings, plus garden wall to be made good and associated works relating to Bearwood Lake dam.
Applicant: Reading Football Club
The Committee considered report about this application set out on Agenda pages 159 to 225.
The Committee was advised that as agreement on the S106 Legal Agreement would not be reached by 2 April, it is Recommendation B set out on Agenda page 160 that will be considered; and that the Members’ Update included details of:
· The height of the HQ building;
· The consultation response and recommended condition from the Environment Agency;
· Recommended additional condition re use of helicopters;
· Recommended amendments to conditions 3, 4, 46;
· Clarification of comments from the Mid and West Berkshire Local Access Forum;
· Comments from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species
Liz Connolly, Jan Heard and Michael Heard, local residents, all spoke to raise the issue of the need for a safe crossing of the B3030 at the edge of the site.
Ian Tant, agent and Nigel Howe, Chief Executive of Reading Football Club, both spoke in support of the application.
Gary Cowan, Local Ward Member, spoke generally in support of the application but raised some concerns.
It was noted that Members had visited the site on 27 March 2015 to assess the impact on the character of the area/countryside and relationships with adjacent land users and to view the heritage assets.
Local concerns had been expressed about the speed of traffic on Mole Road adjacent to the site, and the effect any increase in traffic movements would have on the safety of the highway, particularly at the intersection with the byway. Officers indicated that speed limits on Mole Road and surrounding roads was not part of the application but could be looked at if requested, and that a footpath has been included to run inside the hedge along Mole Road from the residential properties to link with the public network. Officers had assessed the level of traffic movements at the current training ground and concluded that the traffic movements will not be high when compared to the golf course use.
In relation to the suggested improvements to crossing at the Mole Road/byway junction, the applicant indicated that if there was land available in the ownership of the Club, it could be made available to the Council at no charge to facilitate future crossing.
Members gave their support to the suggested review of the speed limit in Mole Road and to suggested safety improvements at the intersection of Mole Road and the byway. It was requested by Members that this be raised with the Head of Highways and Transport.
Officers confirmed that the floodlighting of the practice pitches was screened from the road, and times of use will be controlled, so neighbouring residential properties should not be affected.
One Member expressed concern about the development of a large amount of commercial floor space in the countryside, and that the site would not be open for community use.
RESOLVED: That application F/2014/2119 be approved subject to:
1) the completion of a S106 Legal Agreement by the end of 2 April 2015 securing the CLEMP and Employment Skills Plan;
2) CIL liability notice;
3) referral to the NPCU;
4) the conditions set out on Agenda pages 160 to 176.