THE response to Reading Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan has now been received from the Planning Inspector.
The Council has been awaiting a list of recommended changes to the draft plan from the Inspector following the public examination of the plan in the autumn.
The Local Plan sets out the planning policies for the borough and is the main consideration in deciding planning applications.
The Planning Inspector’s letter seeks further information on just five out of the 91 policies set out in the plan. This means that Council objectives for matters such as sustainable development, controlling the location of student accommodation and the allocation of housing sites are likely to be supported, subject to final confirmation from the Inspector.
The Inspector has however asked for more evidence in relation to four key policy areas relating to: securing affordable housing on sites with fewer than 10 dwellings (Policy H3); requiring large employment developments to contribute towards providing affordable housing (Policy EM1); build to rent schemes (Policy H4) and changes to the site allocation policy for part of Reading Golf Club (Policy CA1b) to strengthen the requirement for health care on site and parking facilities on site.
Minor changes are also noted including, for example, changes to Policy H1, which sets out the housing completion targets for the Borough, which simply needs to be updated to reflect the latest data on permissions and completions.
Cllr Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“The long awaited response from the Inspector has broadly endorsed the Council’s plans and policies for how the Borough will develop up to 2036.
“The Council’s ambitious plans to secure more sustainable development targets is one example of this Council doing the most it can to improve the environment. The Inspector has however sought more information on our affordable housing policies.
“Officers will now provide robust and detailed information to the Inspector to justify the proposed policies. Maintaining a supply of affordable housing from new development is essential to ensure affordable homes for local residents who have been priced out of the market for far too long.”
The Council will submit the information in the coming week and maintain its target to formally adopt the Local Plan in October 2019.
The Inspector’s letter can be viewed at: http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/10054/EI014-Post-Hearing-Advice–Additional-Main-Modifications-and-Related-Matters/pdf/EI014_Post_Hearing_Advice_Note_March_2019.pdf