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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 where and how growth will take place in the borough in the years up to 2036. We know we have to plan for more housing, which is always a complex and controversial subject. We also need to plan for 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 a new Local Plan is the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the supporting guidance. This includes a standard approach for calculating the number of homes each local authority must plan for.    

What’s the timetable?

The timetable for the Local Plan Update has been reviewed and agreed by the council's Executive on 15 January 2020. It is expected that the LPU will be completed (‘adopted’) in Winter 2021. Our Local Development Scheme shows more information on the timetable.


Get involved

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

If you would like to stay up to date sign up to our consultation list newsletter.

Latest News

We conducted a consultation on a Draft Plan between 3 February and 3 April 2020. Further details of what this involved can be found in the 'Draft Plan Consultation' tab below.  All the supporting documents to that consultation, including site assessment work, flooding evidence, transport evidence, and more, can be found on the Draft Local Plan consultation page.  

The responses received are currently being assessed and will inform the next stage of plan preparation.

This was the third public consultation on the plan so far and presented a full draft plan document setting out proposals for where development should go and how it should be managed. It covered a range of topics including proposed allocations for housing and other development, climate change, sustainable transport, affordable housing, and many more.

We asked you to consider the policy approaches in the Draft Plan and share any comments or proposed changes you considered should be made. The Draft Plan document can be found below:

  • Consultation document - Draft Local Plan Update (PDF document)        

Additionally, you can find all of the documents that supported the consultation on the Draft Local Plan consultation page. There is also an Interactive map available which allows you to view the proposed designations, including site allocations.   

We also asked for comments on an updated Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA).

Read the SA/SEA document, below:

Additionally, we consulted on the Habitats Regulations Assessment. This considers any likely significant effect of the proposed Draft Plan approach on Natura 2000 sites.  

As part of the Draft Plan consultation we sent out a leaflet to all households in the borough. Read the 'Right Homes, Right Places: draft local Plan consultation' leaflet, below:

We held a series of public drop in events across the borough which are detailed in the leaflet above. Information provided on display at those events can be viewed below:

  • Draft plan consultation event boards (PDF document) 

This was the second public consultation on the plan so far and was a discussion document to help us move towards the strategy options for development in a draft plan.

The consultation asked about where you think development should go - concentrated in new communities or spread throughout the borough - and whether there are locations that may be suitable for higher densities, and taller buildings. There were also questions about land for new employment centres. 

All of the land being put forward for development as part of this process was publicly available, with the opportunity to provide comments on its suitability.

The consultation was open between Monday 12 November 2018 and 4pm Friday 22 February 2019 (which was extended from 15 February). Copies of the consultation document are available below:

Alongside this we consulted on the Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA). 

We sent out a leaflet to all residents in the Borough. Read the leaflet, below:

         
 All comments received as part of this consultation were reviewed and have informed the Draft Plan.

The Issues and Options stage was the first stage of consultation on the plan, opening the discussion about what the local plan should contain. 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.

You can see the main issues for each topic raised in the document below:

We also asked for your comments on a Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA) alongside this.

At this stage we also consulted on a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). The aim of the HRA 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 begin to identify appropriate mitigation strategies where such effects are identified.

The report consulted on considered broad factors and issues relating to the Issues and Options stage. 

As part of the Local Plan Update process, we need to understand what land is potentially 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 considered for development.

A list of all submitted sites, including their size and landowner's suggested use, are available for you to view below. It should be noted that the act of submitting a site does not alter the status of the land and there is no guarantee that the land will be found suitable for development.

You can also view all promoted sites via an interactive map. In addition, the interactive map allows you to view the proposed designations, including site allocations, included in the Local Plan Update: Draft Plan Jauary 2020. It is important to note that these proposed designations should not be relied on to justify planning applications. Adopted planning policies and the policies map can be viewed at the page here.

Note - the site list and maps will be regularly updated to include newly promoted sites.

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

The interactive map can be found using the link below.

     

Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment

All sites suggested to us have been assessed for their suitability, availability and achievability for development. The Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) provides assessments of the promoted sites and provides an overview of housing, employment, retail and leisure capacity provided by the sites. The HELAA is available to view on the Draft Local Plan consultation webpage under 'Sites'. The HELAA includes all sites promoted between January 2016 and Spring 2019. Sites submitted after this date will be included in later versions of the HELAA.

The Draft Plan proposes the strategy for managing development, including those sites which are proposed to be allocated as part of this.

As part of the update to the local plan, over 300 potential development sites have been submitted for consideration. All of these promoted prior to Spring 2019 have been fully assessed as part of the process. Five larger and more complex areas were looked at in more detail by commissioned consultants – David Lock Associates with Peter Brett Associates.

These 5 areas are:

  • Land around Grazeley
  • Land at Barkham Square
  • Land to the east of Twyford – largely in Ruscombe
  • Land at Hall Farm Arborfield
  • Land at Ashridge Hurst


You can view these on our interactive map in the suggested sites tab above.

It was considered important to look at these larger sites in more detail because they provide potential opportunities for large-scale, sustainable and infrastructure-rich housing development, though they have significant challenges which would need to be overcome. This work undertaken has helped to inform the site assessment process and decisions on whether development woul dbe suitable at these locations.  

The output of this exercise can be seen in the reports produced below. These form part of our evidence base for the Local Plan Update:

 

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.  

West of Berkshire Spatial Planning Framework

The 4 authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading Borough, West Berkshire, and Wokingham Borough, are undertaking cross boundary working to identify large scale opportunities to meet identified future development needs in the area. To learn more, see West of Berkshire Spatial Planning Framework (PDF document).

Evidence Base

We are undertaking a number of technical studies, information gathering and analysing exercises in order to inform our planning policies.

Our current documents can be found on our Evidence topics page. New evidence base documents are available on the Draft Local Plan consultation page

       

Supporting documents

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.

Opportunities

An expression of interest for potential government support for new garden settlement at Grazeley (PDF document) has been submitted.

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