No gravel or mineral extraction sites are being proposed for Wokingham Borough in a long-term plan now approved for consultation.
The next stage of plans to guide minerals and waste decision making in Wokingham Borough up to 2036 have been approved. Public consultation on the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan has been agreed for the autumn after a meeting of the council executive and special council executive last night (Thursday).
There had been concerns that gravel or mineral extraction sites would be proposed locally, but the plan does not contain any in Wokingham Borough.
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “This plan could be great news for our residents, because it should remove the fears some residents had about sites that had previously been considered.”
Wokingham Borough Council is working in partnership with Bracknell Forest Council, Reading Borough Council and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead on the joint plan. It will guide future locations for sand and gravel extraction as well as waste management, such as recycling plants, and waste treatment facilities, across the four authority areas.
The consultation will consider the proposed submission version of the plan and supporting evidence, which is intended to be submitted to the Secretary of State for an independent examination, which is planned to take place early next year. This consultation will provide a final opportunity for interested parties to share comments on whether the plan is considered to be sound and legally compliant.
The consultation is scheduled to run from 3 September to 15 October 2020.
A number of previous consultations have taken place to help guide the preparation of the joint plan, gathering local knowledge to inform policies and site allocations. A focussed consultation took place earlier this year on land promoted for sand and gravel extraction, located west of Basingstoke Road, Swallowfield; this site is not proposed for inclusion in the plan.
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said “This is an important milestone for minerals and waste planning not only in our borough, but also for our neighbours Bracknell Forest, Reading and Windsor and Maidenhead.”
“This joint plan has been several years in the making, and brings together local knowledge and feedback from our residents to inform our approach going forward. It will ensure we have the minerals needed to build our key infrastructure such as roads and schools alongside new homes, and makes appropriate provision for dealing with the waste we produce.”
“Working with our neighbouring Berkshire authorities really helps to address the cross boundary nature of minerals and waste, and shows continued cooperation between the authorities that will support the joint plan at the public examination.”
No sites are proposed for allocation in Wokingham Borough, but there are several in the wider plan area. The plan identifies locations of sand and gravel in the borough where geological data suggests extraction may be supported in principle, subject to consideration through the planning application process.
There is also a need for additional waste sites in the joint plan area and as a result a number of sites in The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are proposed for allocation to increase waste capacity. A large number of industrial sites, including within Wokingham borough, have also been identified as having potential for waste management uses. These would still need to be considered through the planning application process.
The joint plan also proposes a wide range of planning policies, including a response to the challenge of climate change, restoration of sites for biodiversity and sustainable transport movements.
Find out more about the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan by visiting our website.