BRACKNELL Forest Council is to begin legal moves to take over land for a controversial development as it confirmed Blue Mountain Golf Club would close for good in April.

A ‘learning village’ – comprising a two-form entry primary school, a nursery and a secondary school including sixth form is planned for the land in Wood Lane, Binfield, and set to open in September 2017.

Some 400 homes are also earmarked for the site. The plans have been the subject of several protests outside the golf club and a 2,200-strong petition, ever since councillors voted to remove a covenant on the site which had prevented them from building on the land.

However, the council’s executive ratified the plans at a meeting last Tuesday and confirmed that once Crown Golf – which operates the golf club – surrenders the lease to the landowner Luff Group in April next year, the golf course would not reopen.

In a statement, the council said: “The operator of Blue Mountain Golf Course is due to exit the site on or before April 24, 2015. The course won’t be run by Bracknell Forest Council after that date.” The learning village will cost about £42m and both schools and the nursery combined are expected to house more than 1,800 pupils, with some of the places set aside for children with special needs.

This is to help meet the future shortage of school places in the north of the borough, with a shortfall ex-pected by September 2016.

The council’s executive approved the plans and relevant timescales at a meeting last Tuesday, with funding for the development expected to come from government grants, developer contributions and capital investment from the council itself.

Cllr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people and learning, said: “We have been working to alleviate the growing pressure on school places for some time by expanding and redeveloping existing schools.

“However, in order to meet the continued growing need for school places, we are taking an even more proactive approach and creating new schools in areas where the pressure is the greatest.” Bracknell Town Football Club is in talks to relocate from its current location in Larges Lane to the Blue Mountain site to co-exist with the development on the same site.

The 400 homes planned for the site are part of the council’s Site Allocations Local Plan (SALP) – which outlines where more than 11,000 homes will be built around the borough by 2026.