Agenda item

Gary Cowan asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:



What comments has Wokingham Borough Council made to the Windsor and Maidenhead and Reading New Local Plan Public Inquiries?





What comments has Wokingham Borough Council made to the Windsor and Maidenhead and Reading New Local Plan Public Inquiries?



Comments on the pre-submission version of the local plans for both the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Reading Borough Council were considered through Individual Executive Member Decisions in the usual way.  Full information is available on the website.


By the way of an overview an IEMD report on the Reading Borough Local Plan was considered and agreed on 10 January 2018.  Our comments raised an objection until the lack of policy and accommodation provision for Gypsies and Travellers was addressed within the Reading Borough.


Our consideration carefully considered the planned housing provision in the Reading Borough.  Whilst there would be a modest shortfall against the level of housing need as defined by the Berkshire (including South Bucks) Strategic Housing Market Assessment, this was being addressed through a separate Memorandum of Understanding between Western Berkshire Housing Market Area authorities - Reading Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and ourselves.


This agreement stated that the modest shortfall would be addressed within the HMA authorities, as agreed by Government planning policy.  It is important to note that no agreement was made to commit Wokingham Borough Council to provide any additional homes, indeed we have expressed to our partners that we would not do this.  It is important to note that under the Government’s new standard method for calculating housing need, Reading Borough actually have a surplus now of housing supply, so actually no shortfall exists going forward.


With regards to the Royal Borough, an IEMD report was considered and agreed on 16 August 2017.  Four representations were submitted to their draft local plan.  In broad terms, our comments were raised to ensure that the authorities in the Eastern Berkshire Housing Market Area planned separately and appropriately to meet the full housing needs.


For the avoidance of doubt no approach has been made to Wokingham Borough Council to provide development on behalf of the Royal Borough.  If such an approach was made then we would strongly resist it as being inappropriate. 


Supplementary Question

Looking at the request from Reading and the reply from Mark Ashwell, which I thought was quite appropriate, they do make the point about the Western HMA will help to deliver the housing needs in the other areas and I am pleased that you are not dealing with it as I was saying.  


But one of the other areas that did concern me was that Tony Page said in his letter that “in Reading’s unmet need we would wish to see the delivery of affordable homes” which we have seen is important for Reading.  But they want to have nomination rights over the affordable housing delivered to meet their needs if we deliver any and it would also be essential to engage in discussions that developer contributions and community infrastructure levy issues. 


So not only are they saying that if you can build some properties for us we would want the CIL, the infrastructure levies, and all the bits and bobs that go with it.  So I would really like an assurance that we would not do this?


Supplementary Answer

I am more than happy to give you the assurance that that will not happen.