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Local Plan Update

Local Plan Update

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About the Local Plan Update (LPU)

Work is underway on an updated local plan which will shape the future of Wokingham Borough.

This updated local plan will guide development in the Borough for the next 20 years. We know we have to plan for more housing. We also need to plan for the new employment, schools, roads, parks, shops and community facilities necessary to create places people want to live, work and do business.

One of the key reasons for needing the Local Plan Update is that the Government has changed the way that we plan for development, particularly for new housing. It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to assess how much development is needed in its area and how much should be provided.

What’s the timetable?

We are currently reviewing the timetable for the Local Plan Update, in order to undertake further detailed work on infrastructure and consider other potential impacts and opportunities.  We will also be taking the opportunity to master plan as few larger and more complex sites to ensure our work captures the holistic impacts and opportunities. This further work will help ensure we have the best strategy moving forward and that infrastructure such as schools, roads, parks and community facilities is fully understood and plans are in place to ensure they are provided alongside the new homes and jobs.

The next stage of the plan, the Preferred Options Consultation, is now likely to take place in the summer next year (2018).

Get involved

We will be undertaking a number of formal consultations throughout the Local Plan Update. For information on when these will be, please see our Local Development Scheme.

If you would like to stay up to date with these you can be added to our consultation database by emailing us at LPU@wokingham.gov.uk

Latest news

We have now finished consulting on the following:

  • Issues and Options
  • Sustainability Appraisal including Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment scoping document

These consultations ran between Thursday 4 August and 4pm Friday 30 September 2016.

For more information on what these included, please see the individual tabs below and frequently asked questions about the Local Plan Update (PDF document)

To reach further than our usual formal consultation, we used social media and attended a number of events around the Borough over the summer. Thank you to everyone who got involved and joined the conversation about the future of the borough so far.

We are now collating and reviewing all the comments and these will inform the approach in the Preferred Options report.

The Issues and Options stage is the first stage of consultation on the plan, opening the discussion about what the local plan should contain rather than a draft plan. We asked a number of questions about different planning issues that should be dealt with in the update and what you saw as the future for Wokingham Borough.

We have now reviewed the responses and summarised the main issues for each topic. These can be viewed in the document below:

Please read the Issues and Options document here:


Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report

The first formal consultation stage sought views on a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report. The main purpose of this scoping report was to seek views on whether the objectives were appropriate to appraise the plan.  Please see the final SA Scoping Report here:

Sustainability Appraisal / Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA)

This second formal consultation stage sought views on sustainability issues. The SA/SEA gives the opportunity to consider ways in which the plan can contribute to improvements in economic, social and environmental conditions and gives us the chance to mitigate against any adverse effect the Plan might have. We asked for your comments on this.

Please see the SA/SEA document here: 


Habitats Regulations Assessment Scoping Document

The aim of the Habitats Regulations Assessment is to identify any aspects of the emerging local plan that would have the potential to cause a likely significant effect on Natura 2000 or European sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Ramsar sites) either in isolation or in combination with other plans and projects and to begin to identify appropriate mitigation strategies where such effects are identified.

This report considered broad factors and issues relating to the Issues and Options stage of the local plan process.  Further detail will be added at the Preferred Options stage to consider whether an Appropriate Assessment is necessary.


As part of the Local Plan Update process, we need to understand what land is available for new housing, business and leisure development, and other uses. A number of sites across the Borough have been suggested to us to be consider for development.

A list of all submitted sites and a series of maps showing their location are available for you to view below. These are for information purposes only at this stage, with no analysis or assessment of the sites.

It should be noted that many of the sites suggested may not be suitable, available or able to be delivered and therefore a site being put forward is no guarantee that it will be allocated through the local plan process.

The information shows the location and size of the site and what use the site promoter has suggested it for. The use of the site therefore may be subject to change following assessment. It should be noted that in some cases the land owner/promoter has not suggested a land use at all and in such instances these sites will be considered for a number of uses at the time they are assessed.

Note - The site list and maps will be regularly updated.

A list of the submitted sites can be found in the document below

A number of maps showing the distribution of the submitted sites can be found in the following document. 

Information on how to view the sites using the maps is included in the first page of the document.  

The interactive map is currently unavailable due to software updates and will be available again soon. 

Note - Some of the sites submitted to us extend beyond the Borough boundaries with neighbouring Local Planning Authorities. In such instances, we will work with the other relevant Local Planning Authorities when making an assessment of a site.

Next steps

All land suggested through the Call for Sites consultations will be assessed for their suitability, availability and achievability for development.  At the Preferred Option Consultation stage we will consult on the proposed strategy for managing development, including those sites which are proposed to be allocated as part of this.  The assessments of all sites will be available at this time.

The next stage of the plan, the Preferred Options Consultation, is now likely to take place in the summer next year (2018).

At the Proposed Submission stage, the Council will undertake a consultation on the sites it proposes to allocate as part of the Local Plan Update, subject to future Executive approval.

For more information, please have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions below


If you would like to promote a site to the Council for development, please contact the Growth and Delivery Team to request a sites form by emailing us at LPU@wokingham.gov.uk

As a Public body we must co-operate with other organisations when producing a Local Plan. This mandatory process is called the ‘Duty to Co-operate’ (DtC) and is a key part of the plan making process. The DtC will be specifically tested at the public examination of the Local Plan Update which is carried out by an independent Planning Inspector. Robust evidence is therefore needed of how we have interacted with other authorities and bodies on issues that have a cross boundary impact.

 A ‘Duty to Co-operate Statement’ has been produced which outlines what we consider the key issues to be as well as identifying the bodies we will need to co-operate with for each specific issue. It also identifies ways that co-operation already occurs and will occur in the future.

We consulted those bodies identified in the DtC Statement from 20 April to 18 May 2016 and updated the document based on the feedback we received. The DtC process is an ongoing process and this document is a starting point for ongoing, meaningful discussions as the Local Plan Update progresses.  

We are undertaking a number of technical studies and information gathering and analysing exercises in order to inform our planning policies.  This forms our evidence base for the Local Plan Update. A list of evidence bases that we are undertaking can be seen in our Evidence base table (PDF document.)

Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

We are required to produce a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) in order to have a better understanding of our housing need and then set a housing target through the local plan process. The Berkshire (including South Bucks) SHMA shows Wokingham Borough to be in the Western Berkshire Housing Market Area.

More information and the published report can be found on the Housing Evidence page.

Functional Economic Market Assessment (FEMA)

The Functional Economic Market Assessment (FEMA) establishes the functional economic market areas that operate across Berkshire and the wider sub-region. More information and the published report can be found on the Economic Evidence page.

Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA)

The Economic Development Needs Assessment identifies  further analysis alongside the FEMA work to identify the future quantity of land or floor space that could be required for economic development uses in each FEMA and unitary authority area. More information and the published report can be found on the Economic Evidence page.

Housing and Economic Land Availability (HELAA)

The Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) helps to identify future sources of land to help meet development needs.  It is a technical study of all potential land for housing and economic uses (such as offices and retail).  The inclusion of land within a HELAA report does not in itself determine that it is suitable for development, or that the land is necessary available for development.  Assessments made through a HELAA are indicative only and do not prejudice assessments make through the Local Plan or planning application processes.

The joint methodology has been prepared by Reading Borough Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Slough Borough Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council.  The methodology will be used to assess the land for development.  It sets out the way the councils broadly propose to assess the suitability of land put forward for development; whether it is available, achievable and whether the development could realistically be built in the timescales expected.

More information and the published report can be found on the Housing Evidence page.

Green Belt Study

Early in 2016, Wokingham Borough Council and Bracknell Forest Council jointly commissioned the consultants AMEC to undertake a Green Belt Review. This is the first comprehensive review of the Green Belt undertaken on behalf of the Councils and the Review will form part of the evidence base for Wokingham Borough Council’s Local Plan Update. The objective of the Review is to test the Green Belt against the five purposes of Green Belt land listed in paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The report does not identify land for release or development. 

A copy of the Report can be found below.

See blow for a copy of the documents appendices:

 Opportunities and Constraints 

The borough contains a number of opportunities and constraints and we have created a map of the borough and the wider area to show these. The map can be found here:

Below is a glossary explanation of terms used in the Local Plan Update process:


If you think that there are some terms used that require explanation but are missing from the glossary, please get in touch with us at LPU@wokingham.gov.uk.

(The glossary does not form part of the statutory plan).

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