Agenda item

Lindsay Ferris asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:




There are a total of 15,513 homes within the consultation to cover the period of the draft local plan to 2036.  This is extremely close to the number required within the timeframe.  Can you advise how the Council would proceed if a significant number of the housing developments being proposed received significant objections?



Yes it is 2038, not 2036.


The figure of 15,513 homes is the minimum number of homes required by the Government’s standard method over that plan period.  The Revised Growth Strategy identifies a land supply which reasonably exceeds this, providing some flexibility for delivery.


The clear benefits of refreshing our local plans.  A new plan will mean our planning policies will continue to be effective.  Without a plan, there will be less control over where development happens, meaning it is likely to come forward in poorly located places.  It will be much harder to try and improve the infrastructure alongside it.


As you know, if we progress a local plan which does not meet the Government’s housing expectations it will not pass the examination in public.  We have taken advice on this from a leading barrister, and I am sorry I have mentioned this before, and statistician expert.


We will of course review all the comments we receive to the consultation and amend our strategy if necessary, however, let us be clear.  There is little scope to remove land from the strategy without having to find suitable land elsewhere.  If somebody wishes to object to a particular site, it is equally important for them to tell us where they would support building new homes to meet our plan.


Supplementary Question

It would appear that major objections have already started, even before the consultation has commenced; in particular with a major petition relating to the Pinewood site in Wokingham Without.


Can the Executive Member explain why this popular community site was included for housing in this consultation when many other community sites have been recommended for Local Green Open Space status?


Supplementary Answer

I am glad you brought that up Lindsay as I was going to bring that up later.  The point that you are referring to, and if you do not mind I will read it as it is very important because like you I am very frustrated at what is being put out on social media.  Page 44, paragraph 6.1.7 states:


In addition to the sites identified above, it is further proposed to allocate Pinewood, Old Wokingham Road for self-funded regeneration.  Pinewood accommodates a number of valued community facilities but the premises on site are of varied quality and they would benefit from investment.  Proposals would be drawn up in consultation with the existing occupiers.  Some of the income from any housing (and I say any housing) achieved on this site would be invested back into community facilities onsite, or if appropriate, their relocation to a new home.”


So, I do not read that as we are going to build all over that site.  I read that, that we are going to plough back money into areas, and I know it is a very valuable site, and we will want to keep it and we will want to look after that site.  I am amazed at what has been put out on Facebook, absolutely amazed.