Reading Borough Council is working with Wokingham Borough Council and West Berkshire Council to face the challenges of providing for the required level of new homes – including new affordable homes – to meet Reading’s future needs.
The three authorities have submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Government funding for a potential Garden Settlement on land close to the borders of Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire at Grazeley, that could provide more than 15,000 new homes over the next 20 years, along with supporting shops, services and facilities.
Throughout this process Reading Borough Council, neighbouring local authorities and all partners have been clear that the delivery of thousands of new homes hinges on significant Government funding being provided for the vital infrastructure needed. That means funding for sustainable public transport improvements, such as bus and train travel, alongside significant investment in roads, such as the A33 and M4 motorway, and other associated infrastructure like schools, health services, green spaces and community facilities.
Cllr Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“We know that demand for housing in this area is indisputable, as is the need for affordable housing. This level of housing growth is not deliverable however without the right infrastructure in place.
“It is also essential every local authority involved is given adequate resources for staffing, which would be ring-fenced funding to help deliver a project of this scale and size.”
The possibility of a new settlement at this location is only one of the options being considered for providing the homes and infrastructure necessary in the area. It will be for the individual Councils’ Local Planning processes to determine the final location of new homes and other land uses such as new employment provision. The Council intends to undertake publication on a draft Local Plan in Spring 2017.