10:41AM, Tuesday 17 October 2017
A multi-million pound project to build 2,000 homes and a new school on Maidenhead Golf Club is set to be discussed at an extraordinary council meeting at the end of this month.
Maidenhead Golf Club agreed to surrender its lease to the Royal Borough for a minimum of £12m last June, with an extra £4.25m if the club leaves within three years.
A report going to the cabinet regeneration sub-committee next Thursday recommends the council spend £20m to acquire residential properties to be used as access to the 132-acre site and approve an emerging master plan which will see them find a joint venture partner to develop the site.
Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and leader of the council said: “When people think about the development of the golf club, some people might think it’s going to be covered in houses. The answer is no, only 60 per cent of the golf club is subject to development.
“Maidenhead Golf Club is a site in the emerging Borough Local Plan (BLP) and we have consultants at Savills doing work on what is involved in bringing this forward for development.
“Even if there was no BLP, this site would still be brought forward for development.”
A map seen by the Advertiser shows what type of houses will be placed where on the site, with the northern part of the site (nearest the station) set to accommodate 145 housing units per hectare, and the part close to Harvest Hill Road 40 units per hectare.
The site near Harvest Hill also includes an all-through school, which includes sixth form entry.
In March, the Advertiser reported Desborough School could move onto the golf club with Newlands Girls’ School; however Cllr Dudley said there would only be room for one of them on the site.
He said: “The school would be secured through the free school programme, but it could only accommodate one of them [Desborough or Newlands]. You could have an existing school set up a sister school, or Desborough might say; we will move there.
“We will ask for an expression of interest establishing schools on the site, you may get local schools or a multi-academy trust coming forward.
“The JV partner will come and put their views on how the site will look, so this option is just our outline thinking but we will get the detail from the JV partner.”
At least 600 of the homes on site will be affordable, and a mix of shared ownership, key worker housing, rent to buy and ‘potentially social housing’ according to Cllr Dudley.
But residents may have to wait to start seeing work on the site, as construction is dependent on when the golf club members decide to leave, which could be anytime between summer 2019 and 2023.
Cllr Dudley added: “What they receive reduces over that period so they have an economic incentive to release it sooner.
“If they want to buy a new golf club we will pre-advance them some money to allow them to buy a new golf club.”
When asked how much the site will be worth after development, Barbara Richardson, director of RBWM Property Limited said: “We won’t know that until the point where you sit down and go through the procurement process with the JV partner and part of their process to be selected is to look at site now in terms of land value.
“You can’t predict what future rates are going to be worth, nobody knows that. All you can do is an assessment in relation to activated prices of what 2,000 homes look like; the JV partners looking at the site will go through suggestions.”
However Cllr Dudley said: “We don’t like putting things into part two, but it does indicate what the land value is, and it’s a very significant amount of money.”
Part two of the meeting is held without members of the press and public.
Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without) said: “This land is in the council’s ownership, we’re not just interested in building homes, we’re interested in building a community.
“The point of this master plan and the council owning is that we have an ambitious plan to transform Maidenhead and build a borough for everyone.”
The council will be launching the process to find a joint venture for the site on Friday, November 3.
Residents have been urged to put forward any questions they may have to be answered at the extraordinary council meeting on Monday, October 30.
Questions must be submitted by 5pm on Friday, October 20.
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