READING Borough Council’s new Local Plan will demand that all future new developments of 10 homes or more should be zero carbon.
The Council can confirm its planning blueprint to 2036 has now been approved by an independent inspector. The Local Plan will be used to determine future planning decisions in the town and is the most radical yet, with a strong emphasis on delivering Reading’s climate change and sustainability ambitions.
The new policy on zero carbon homes recognises that the Council has declared a Climate Change Emergency and committed to a net zero carbon Reading by 2030.
The new Local Plan includes ambitious proposals to tackle high demand for new housing, providing for over 15,000 homes to 2036, underpinned by employment, services and infrastructure. Importantly, the Council has successfully demonstrated to the planning inspector that all sizes of housing site should contribute to affordable housing. This is despite a national approach which currently exempts smaller sites.
Public examination of the Council’s Local Plan began in March 2018. Confirmation from the planning inspector that it is ‘sound’ and legally compliant means Reading is the first local authority in Berkshire to have its plan approved. It can now be adopted as the Council’s formal planning policy on 4th November at Full Council.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This is Reading’s most radical Local Plan ever with a major emphasis on tackling the climate emergency locally and the shortage of affordable housing.
“The Council’s new policy demands all future housing developments of 10 homes or more should be zero carbon, putting it at the cutting edge of authorities across the country and leading by example. We are proud in Reading to be in the top 5% of local authorities in Britain for cutting carbon emissions and the Local Plan will play a key role in cementing that success.
“The planning inspector has additionally accepted that all sizes of housing site must contribute to desperately-needed affordable housing provisions in Reading, which we have long campaigned for. Our new Local Plan will ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support new housing and it will have a key role to play in protecting open spaces and wildlife areas and places Reading’s rich heritage at the heart of decision-making.
“Public examination of the new Local Plan has run for well over a year but, nevertheless, Reading is the first local authority in Berkshire to reach the approval stage. The new policies on sustainability and affordable housing make it worth the wait as they will help shape future developments in Reading for years to come.”
More information can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/newlocalplan