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Local Plan Update

Local Plan Update

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About the Local Plan Update (LPU)

Work is underway on a new local plan which will shape the future of Wokingham Borough.

This new local plan will guide where and how growth will take place in the borough in the years up to 2038. 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.

Our local plan must continue to take into account changes to national planning policy and guidance. This includes the current 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 29 July 2021. It is expected that the LPU (Local Plan Update) will be completed (‘adopted’) by the end of 2023. 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 Planning Policy consultation list.

Latest news   

We conducted a consultation on a Revised Growth Strategy for the local plan between 22 November 2021 and 24 January 2022. We asked for your views on some key changes in our approach for development across the borough. Find out more in the tab below.


Thank you to everyone who got involved. The responses received are now being reviewed and will inform the next stage of plan preparation. 

This consultation closed at 5pm on Monday 24 January 2022. Thank you to everyone who attended our events and responded with views on our proposed Revised Growth Strategy.

Unlike the previous Draft Plan, which we consulted on last year, we did not propose a new town of around 15,000 homes at Grazeley. This was no longer possible following an extension of the emergency planning zone around AWE Burghfield to include that area.

Instead, we suggested a revised approach to where development should go. We asked for your views on the key changes and welcomed any comments you have. 

You can take a look at the consultation document:


You can also see a wide range of additional documents to help inform your views on our dedicated consultation webpage.

Sustainability Appraisal (SA/SEA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

Alongside this we also consulted on the SA/SEA. This gives an opportunity to consider ways in which the plan could contribute to improvements in economic, social and environmental conditions and gives us a chance to mitigate against any adverse effects the plan might have.

We also consulted on the HRA, which considers any likely significant effect of the proposed plan approach on Natura 2000 sites.

You can take a look at the documents below:

 

The consultations ran between Monday 22 November 2021 and 5pm on Monday 24 January 2022.

If you have any questions regarding the consultation, please contact the Growth and Delivery Team by emailing LPU@wokingham.gov.uk

Please note:

  • Comments received after 5pm on Monday 24 January 2022 will not be able to be considered.
  • All comments received will be made publicly available, but personal details will be removed prior to this.
  • Anonymous comments cannot be accepted and will not be considered.

 

         

This was the third public consultation on the plan so far which ran from 3 February to 3 April 2020. It 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 and principle supporting documents can be found below, as well as a high level summary of the initial outcomes of the consultation:


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.   

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. 

Land available for development

As part of any local plan process, it is important to have a clear understanding of the land which is potentially available for housing, business and other types of development. It is also important to understand the green areas which are of particular importance to communities.

View promoted land

You can view where land has been promoted as being potentially available for development and where land has been nominated for consideration as a local green space below.

View our interactive map:

View the list of land promoted for potential development:

View the list of areas nominated for local green space:

The interactive map also allows you to view the proposed allocations set out in the current Revised Growth Strategy consultation, the Draft Local Plan (February 2020) and other information that may be of interest.

It should be noted that the act of promoting land as being available for development, or nominating an area for protection as local green space, does not alter the status of the land and there is no guarantee that the land will be found suitable for development or suitable for protection.

Assessment of land promoted as potentially available for development

All sites suggested to us are assessed for their potential for accommodating development. 

Assessments are set out in a document called the The Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). Assessments will be reviewed as a local plan progresses. The most recent assessments are those within the HELAA published in November 2021 which is available to view on the Revised Growth Strategy consultation page under 'Sites'. The HELAA includes all sites promoted between January 2016 and Autumn 2021. Sites submitted after this date will be included in later versions of the HELAA. The site list and map will be periodically updated to include newly promoted sites.

Land nominated for consideration as Local Green Space

National policy provides for an optional designation of Local Green Space.  This allows communities to identify and protect green areas of particular importance to them.  Areas must meet the criteria set out in national policy and designation must be through either a local plan or neighbourhood plan. 

The Draft Local Plan (February 2020) proposed the designation of eight Local Green Spaces. 

Following the Draft Local Plan consultation, the council wrote to town/parish councils and local amenity groups to ask whether they wished to nominate any additional areas. As a result, over 100 nominations were received.  All nominated areas have been assessed against national planning policy/guidance and the council's assessment methodology. The methodology and most recent assessments are set out in the Local Green Spaces Topic Paper published in November 2021, which is available to view on the Revised Growth Strategy consultation page under 'Topic and position papers'. 

Over 70 areas are proposed for designation as Local Green Space in the Revised Growth Strategy consultation and are shown on the interactive map

Further opportunities are available for town/parish councils and local communities to suggest additional areas for Local Green Space designation by responding to the current Revised Growth Strategy consultation. Further details regarding the Revised Growth Strategy are available to view on the Revised Growth Strategy consultation page.  

If you would like to nominate any additional areas for consideration in the local plan, please clearly identify the area of green space on a map and provide any relevant information explaining the importance of each area to your community. It is recommended following the methodology set out in the Local Green Space Topic Paper when undertaking the assessment. 


As part of the new local plan, over 300 potential sites have been submitted for consideration. we have undertaken masterplanning work on a number of the larger, more complex sites. These provide potential opportunities for large-scale, sustainable and infrastructure-rich housing development, though they have significant challenges which would need to be overcome. The work has helped to inform the site assessment process and the proposals put forward in the Local Plan Update consultations. 

Read the masterplanning reports below:


You can also find further masterplanning reports on our Revised Growth Strategy consultation page.

 

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. The most recent evidence bas documents can be found on the Revised Growth Strategy consultation page and 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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