Wokingham Borough Council is currently updating its Local Plan which will set out where new homes need to be built in the borough in the next 20 years – and residents are invited to help in two ways.
As a key part of producing a new Local Plan, the borough council is working with other Berkshire councils to agree a way of assessing what land should be set aside for new homes, businesses and other uses.
This is known as a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) and it guides how the council decides which land put forward for development should be allocated for development in the Local Plan.
A draft HELAA methodology has been produced and local people can comment on it, between now and 6 June. It sets out the way the council proposes to compare the suitability of land put forward for development, including its availability and if the development could realistically be built in the timescale expected. It also includes potential community benefits, and any adverse impacts on the environment.
Land to be considered for development are those put forward in a ‘Call for Sites’ consultation. One was run in January and February this year and invited individuals and organisations to submit sites to be considered for development. This call has been reopened for further sites to be put forward.
The consultations on the HELAA methodology and the Call for Sites are available on the council’s consultation website page.
"We're inviting residents to help us decide how we agree what land should be allocated for development, because the criteria needs to reflect local values as far as we possibly can,” said Cllr Keith Baker, leader of the council.
"We are also re-opening the Call for Sites to give everyone the opportunity to submit sites for potential development. Only those sites we find acceptable will be allocated for development. This part of the Local Plan process is about seeing what is available, and agreeing how we assess it. It is important to note that a site being submitted does not mean it will be accepted for development. Many such sites will be deemed unacceptable."