“ENVIRONMENTAL vandalism on a massive scale” – That’s what opposition councillors have said after the sale of acres of green open space to the council to build more than 2,000 homes.

A strong majority of Maidenhead golf club members voted in favour of the council’s revised offer of £15.95m and an extension to leave the site by two-and-a-half years.

The site plays a major part in the borough local plan where it is earmarked for more than 2,000 homes to be built.

Negotiations between the Conservative-run council and the golf club have been ongoing for some time and campaigners have called for the course to be converted into a great park. A call that has been rejected by the Tories.

READ MORE: Maidenhead Golf Club accepts council's revised £15.95m offer

Welcoming the news, the leader of the council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), said it will be a “significant development site” for the community and will deliver “much-needed” family housing, including affordable homes, a new a primary school, and green open space.

However, the deal has not been welcomed by many.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Independent Cllr Geoff Hill (Oldfield) said developing on the 132-acre green open space into housing is “environmental vandalism on a massive scale” and is “unforgivable”.

He believed Maidenhead will lose its “last green lung” where the clean air that the trees and plants produced will be replaced with ‘toxic air’ made from the new homes and increased vehicle movements.

Royal Borough Observer: Golf club members accepted the counci's revised offer on September 9Golf club members accepted the counci's revised offer on September 9

Cllr Hill said: “We know the Conservative group has got us in the most awful position financially and there has to be another way rather than destroying the environment and making it toxic to breathe in that part Oldfield ward and Maidenhead.

“I’m staggered at the direction the borough has gone.”

The Conservative administration has said the site will deliver between 30 to 40 per cent affordable homes – but Cllr Hill said it will still be way too high for someone on the average salary of £30,000 a year to afford given the average house price in the borough is approximately £476,000.

St Mary’s ward Cllr Gurch Singh (Lib Dems) called the deal a “devastating loss” for Maidenhead and thinks developing on brownfield sites in the borough can deliver that number of homes without losing green open space.

READ MORE: Slough Council considering to build family homes on greenbelt sites

He said: “The Conservative administration should’ve heard the voices and find another solution. There are a lot of brownfield sites around where we can build on. We really don’t have to do this.”

A glimmer of hope still sparkles for campaigners as a planning application will still have to come forward and be determined by the planning panel.

Cllr Hill believes the application is “so contentious” that it should be determined by an external panel outside of the borough so it can get a fair hearing without any pre-determination.