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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 and we are currently consulting on the latest stage.

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 the Local Plan Update is that the Government has recently updated the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the supporting guidance. This includes a new, 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 25 October 2018. It is expected that the LPU will be completed (‘adopted’) in Spring 2022. Our newly updated 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 have recently sent out a leaflet to all residents in the borough. Read the leaflet below:

   

The latest consultation on the Local Plan Update finished on 22 February 2019. For more information and to see the consultation documents, see the tab below and have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions:


Thank you to everyone who attended the consultation events around the borough and responded to the consultation. All comments are currently being reviewed and will help to inform the Draft Plan. 

Updated local plan

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

The consultation asked about where you think development should go - concentrated in new communities or spread throughout the borough - and whether where 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). 

All comments received as part of this consultation are currently being reviewed and will inform 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 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

 

The interactive map can be found using the link below.

   

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 sites suggested to us will be assessed for their suitability, availability and achievability for development. At the Draft Plan 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.

At the Proposed Submission stage, we will undertake a consultation on the sites proposed for allocation as part of the Local Plan Update, subject to future Executive approval.

As part of the update to the local plan, over 280 potential development sites have been submitted for consideration. All of these are being fully assessed as part of the process. 5 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 call for 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.

The commissioning of this work does not pre-judge the outcome of the Local Plan Update. At this stage we do not know and have not committed to any particular approach deciding which sites could potentially be developed. This work undertaken will be used in helping us to make a decision on whether development would be suitable at these location    

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).

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:


Settlement Hierarchy

The Settlement Hierarchy Assessment is a technical study that considers the range of services and facilities available at different settlements within Wokingham Borough. The provision of services and facilities changes, so this study presents a snapshot in time. It is not the role of this study to determine where development is directed. 

A copy of the study can be found below:


More information and the published report can be found on the evidence topics 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.

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, email us at LPU@wokingham.gov.uk.

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

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