Agenda item

Jim Murphy had asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question but as he was unable to attend the meeting the following written answer was provided:




Officers state that from work they have undertaken assessing the potential sites; Hall Farm / London Valley, displays the most deliverable and sustainable strategic option.  I question how this can be when it offers so little in comparison to other more suitable and better located sites.


Except for the fact that this site offers the benefit for WBC to deal with only one readily compliant landowner, I cannot see what other factors cause this site to be selected with such high suitability as to warrant it more suitable than other potential sites.  I appreciate that the ability to be able to deliver the plan is one of the key requirements but feel in this instance this one factor must have been disproportionately applied in comparison to the weight give to the other equally important factors.


Therefore, can you please tell what weight, in percentage terms of the overall decision-making criteria, has the benefit of only having to deal with one compliant landowner been the deciding factor in this instance?



A great amount of detailed work has been undertaken to support the recommended consultation.  This includes sustainability appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment), a habitats regulation assessment, masterplanning (including high level viability), transport modelling, housing and economic land availability assessment and local green space assessment.


This material has been used to inform decision making to date and will be published alongside the consultation on 22 November.  I would encourage you to review this and provide any comments in response to the consultation.


Deliverability is a key consideration when considering where development could take place.  National planning policy recognises that there needs to be a realistic prospect of the land being available for development at the envisaged point in time.  If sites do not come forward for development, or development is delayed, this can impact the Council’s ability to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply or pass the Housing Delivery Test.  Failing either of these increases the possibility of unplanned, speculative development.


Deliverability is not the sole reason for the proposed. 


Following a technical appraisal by Officers supported by AECOM and discussions with a cross party group of Councillors, the creation of a new sustainable community at the Hall Farm / Loddon Valley is considered to be the most deliverable and sustainable strategic option.


It offers the opportunity to provide homes alongside jobs with the area in proximity to the Thames Valley Science and Innovation Park, Shinfield, a key location for economic and jobs growth.


The Hall Farm / Loddon Valley opportunity also allows the creation of a large publicly accessible green space or park along the River Loddon Valley, an area currently without public access. The river corridor provides a significant opportunity for comprehensive habitat management, restoration and enhancement, improving biodiversity.


The new community would be supported by a comprehensive package of infrastructure to incentivise sustainable behaviours and travel choices. This would include a framework to maximise opportunities for walking and cycling both within the new community and between the surrounding places (including a new connection over the M4 to Earley), primary schools and a secondary school, and neighbourhood centres.


The consultation provides an opportunity for everyone to let us know whether they agree or disagree with our judgement.