Local Plan Consultation Offers Opportunity to Help Shape the Future of Reading

  • Public consultation launches today on key local planning document which will help shape the future of Reading 
  • Council is proposing changes to increase the number of family-sized homes, affordable homes and set high standards for developers on sustainable housing
  • Residents have until the end of January to take part

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RESIDENTS are being invited to help shape the future of their town by taking part in an important public consultation on a refreshed planning blueprint for Reading.

The Local Plan is a crucial Council planning document which will help inform decisions on planning applications up to 2041. It outlines Council policies on key issues like future housing need, affordable homes, associated infrastructure and how sustainable developments will help Reading drive towards its net zero carbon ambitions.

Adopted in 2019, Reading’s Local Plan now needs updating to take into account changes in national planning legislation and the need nationally for more homes to tackle a housing shortage exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.

Locally in Reading, there is a specific focus on more affordable homes, more family-sized homes and more energy efficient housing. Every council needs to review its Local Plan by law within five years of adoption and, as a result of this review, the Council has decided to undertake what is known as a ‘partial update’.

In relation to the level of housing need in Reading borough, the adopted Local Plan provides for 689 new homes a year, but this would increase substantially, particularly under the new national methodology for calculating need that the Government expects councils to use. The Council is instead proposing that the figure should be based around what is estimated to be achievable in the town, which is 800 new homes a year.

The refreshed Local Plan additionally seeks to ask developers to help address the acute shortage of family-sized homes in Reading. Outside of central Reading, the Council is proposing to increase the target for the amount of family housing needed to 67%, up from 50% in the current version, while acknowledging that developments in central Reading are likely to be mainly made up of one and two bedroom homes but should still seek to deliver an increase in family homes.

The consultation document also includes proposals for additional sites for development by the public, landowners or organisations. People are being asked for their views on these proposed sites ahead of further consideration next year on whether they should be included in Reading’s refreshed Local Plan.  

The consultation document can be accessed online at www.reading.gov.uk/localplanupdate and people can have their say at https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/local-plan-consultation/.


Leng, M 2022
Councillor Micky Leng, Reading Borough Council’s Lead for Planning, said:

 “As a Council we want to work with developers to address the desperate shortage of family-sized homes in Reading and I am pleased to see the revised draft proposes a 67% target outside the central area, up from 50%

 “We have also committed to aim for Reading to be a net zero town by 2030 and the Local Plan already plays a huge role by setting high standards for developers in terms of creating genuinely sustainable homes, and importantly, the role energy efficient homes play in driving down costs for struggling households.

 “The Local Plan is not just about building new homes though. It is also about protection of land and changes in national law and policy which mean that greater protection must also be afforded to biodiversity, wildlife and existing habitats.

 “There is a need to update 45 of the 90 existing policies. Some residents may have a policy interest they’re focused on, it could be our Public Realm, Build to Rent, Affordable Homes Policy or a particular place such as the Royal Berks Hospital. There are 80 plus questions in the consultation and I recognise the Christmas period is a busy time of year for our residents. You don’t have to answer all of the questions, you can choose however many you wish.

 “This is a genuine opportunity to influence the role of development in your town, for many years to come. I’d urge residents, businesses and organisations across Reading to take some time over the coming weeks to take a look at our intended direction of travel and feed into the plans.”

Public consultation began today (Nov 27) and has been extended by over three weeks, from the usual 6 weeks, to take into account the up-and-coming Christmas period. The deadline for comments is January 31st at 5pm.

Residents can either use the online questionnaire to answer specific questions on the area they are interested in, or can respond more generally in writing by e-mail or post. Comments submitted by email should be sent to planningpolicy@reading.gov.uk or by post to:  Planning Policy Team, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices Reading RG1 2LU. The online questionnaire can be accessed at https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/local-plan-consultation/

If residents prefer, physical copies of the Local Plan Scope and Content document can be viewed at the Civic Offices on Bridge Street between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, and in all Council libraries.

Two drop-in sessions will also take place where residents can discuss the proposed changes in more detail with a member of the planning policy team. These also take place at the Civic Offices main reception area on Thursday 7 December from 1pm to 6pm, and on Monday 11 December from 2pm to 7pm.  This will be followed by an online webinar on Wednesday 13 December at 6pm. Anyone interested in joining the webinar should confirm attendance by emailing planningpolicy@reading.gov.uk. The Council will provide further details via email upon confirmation of attendance.

Following the public consultation, officers will take some time to consider public feedback before returning to Committee in July next year for the next stage of consultation. The final phase is for Reading’s updated Local Plan to be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.