Securing planned, high-quality development through clear plans and guidance is the aim of Wokingham Borough Council as it considers inviting comment on documents outlining future development in the borough.
At a special meeting of the executive on June 2, councillors will be asked to decide whether to undertake consultation on new Arborfield, South of the M4, North and South Wokingham supplementary planning documents. Members of the executive will also be asked to consider consulting on a new Infrastructure Delivery and Contributions SPD, the document which outlines how developers should contribute to the infrastructure required to support the new developments. This step will allow the council to keep the most up-to-date and robust policy position, as well as being a precautionary measure given ongoing planning applications and appeals.
Executive member for strategic highways and planning Cllr Angus Ross said: "We are conscious that these plans are fundamental in setting the future direction of our borough and want to make sure that people are able to make their views known.
"While we have undertaken our largest ever consultation exercise in preparing these plans, we have now prepared documents which further take account of people’s comments, including those of the southern parishes planning group. This affords us the opportunity to once again ask for people’s views on these documents.
"I also want to make sure that we have fully followed the guidance on producing the plans to the letter and so, if the executive agrees, will be asking everyone to look again at the five SPDs and have their say."
The new plans take into account changes since the last round of consultation, particularly as work has progressed in terms of infrastructure. If the executive agrees to go ahead, people will also be asked for their views on a new Strategic Environmental Assessment, which sets out the likely environmental impact of the plans.
Cllr Ross said: "The legal challenge to our plans has created uncertainty which can undermine our ultimate aim of achieving well-planned, designed and thought through development, underpinned by the necessary infrastructure. Whilst doubt remains about the status of the plans, there is greater likelihood of seeing applications for unplanned and less suitable development.
"Asking for people’s views on these new documents will allow us to move forward with the planning process and to help us get to a position where we have confirmed and adopted plans which will deliver high quality development."
Should the executive agree the proposed consultation, people will be asked for their views between June 15 and July 27 2011. Comments received will be considered before the SPDs are formally adopted by the council, currently estimated to be in September.
Details of how to get involved, including online or by hard copy, will be available if the executive agrees to proceed to consultation.