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4 Core Strategy Policies

4.1 This Core Strategy includes a number of high level policies in order to achieve the objectives and vision set out in the earlier sections. It also includes a number of policies relating to specific strategic proposals e.g. SDL in policies CP18-21. Proposals would therefore need to comply with relevant policies, together with other parts of the Development Plan. The policies are arranged into broad themes applying to the whole borough before more specific issues are considered.

Delivering a sustainable borough


CP1 – Sustainable development

Planning permission will be granted for development proposals that:

  1. Maintain or enhance the high quality of the environment;
  2. Minimise the emission of pollutants into the wider environment;
  3. Limit any adverse effects on water quality (including ground water);
  4. Ensure the provision of adequate drainage;
  5. Minimise the consumption and use of resources and provide for recycling;
  6. Incorporate facilities for recycling of water and waste to help reduce per capita water consumption;
  7. Avoid areas of best and most versatile agricultural land;
  8. Avoid areas where pollution (including noise) may impact upon the amenity of future occupiers;
  9. Avoid increasing (and where possible reduce) risks of or from all forms of flooding (including from groundwater);
  10. Provide attractive, functional, accessible, safe, secure and adaptable schemes;
  11. Demonstrate how they support opportunities for reducing the need to travel, particularly by private car in line with CP6; and
  12. Contribute towards the goal of reaching zero-carbon developments41 as soon as possible by:
    1. Including appropriate on-site renewable energy features; and
    2. Minimising energy and water consumption by measures including the use of appropriate layout and orientation, building form, design and construction, and design to take account of microclimate so as to minimise carbon dioxide emissions through giving careful consideration to how all aspects of development form.

4.2 Development within the borough should enhance the overall sustainability of the area through minimising impact on the environment, including access to facilities as detailed under CP9. As is recognised in both the Community Strategy and the Spatial Objectives, the community values the high quality of the environment within the borough. It is therefore important that any proposals for development do not harm this or adversely affect the quality of life of residents, workers and visitors. The Council's Landscape Character Assessment highlights the areas of the borough with landscapes which should be protected or enhanced by development. The Council's Borough Design Guide SPD (July 2007) provides guidance on how schemes can reflect the quality of the borough's character. Village Design Statements provide similar guidance for smaller areas.

4.3 Proposals that enhance the quality of the environment of the borough could include those that improve the openness of the areas outside of development limits defined under Policy CP9. Landowners and developers have the primary responsibility for protecting their land against the risk of flooding. They are also responsible for managing the drainage of their land such that they do not adversely affect adjoining properties. It is essential that future development is planned carefully, in accordance with PP25 (and the accompanying Good Practice Guide), the Flood Direction 2007 and the Wokingham Borough Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, steering it away from areas that are most at risk from flooding and ensuring that it does not exacerbate existing flooding problems. A planning solution to flood risk management should be sought wherever possible. At the planning application stage, the developer/ applicant is responsible for preparing a detailed site based Flood Risk Assessment or Drainage Impact Assessment depending upon the location and scale of development. It is essential that the developer/ applicant consider the possible change in flood risk over the lifetime of the development because of climate change. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems can be used to minimise the risk and impact of flooding. Developers will be expected to provide and fund effective SUDS maintenance regimes. New development should be designed to be resilient to flooding as appropriate.

4.4 The completed Wokingham Borough SFRA highlights where the impacts of flooding (including from groundwater) and surface water runoff (both on and off site) will need to be addressed. The SFRA is a strategic document which identifies zones of risk to help in the allocation of land for development, for Development Management decision making purposes, to develop emergency plans and highlight possible requirements that may be needed in a more detailed FRA. Proposals need to include measures to reduce water consumption so that the impacts of water abstraction upon Natura 2000 sites as explained in the Appropriate Assessment are avoided. The minimisation of impacts on air quality will also help address the impacts of development on Natura 2000 sites as highlighted in the Appropriate Assessment.

4.5 Further guidance on flooding, drainage and water supply for development proposals will be included in the future Sustainable Development SPD.

4.6 Proposals for new development, including the construction of new buildings and the redevelopment and refurbishment of existing building stock, will be acceptable where the design of buildings and site layouts use energy, water, minerals, materials and other natural resources appropriately, efficiently and effectively and take account of the effects of climate change. Delivering on sustainable energy can bring significant social, environmental and economic benefits to Wokingham Borough.

4.7 As a result of the rapidly changing situation the Council is taking a flexible approach to the provision of on-site renewables and other sustainable forms of development dealt with in CP1.

4.8 The Council will expect developers to use the Buildings Regulations, the Code for Sustainable Homes and other national guidance (at the time of application) to demonstrate that in order to achieve reductions in carbon emissions, a percentage of energy used in developments be provided by on site renewable energy installations. The Council will seek over and above the minimum national and regional targets (SEP Policy NRM11) through the Managing Development Delivery DPD.

4.9 Development for the generation of energy from renewable resources will be permitted unless there are unacceptable locational or other impacts that could not be outweighed by wider environmental, social and economic or other benefits. Overall, the Council wants to achieve zero-carbon development as soon as possible. The Government target for new homes is to do so by 2016. The regional target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is detailed in SEP Policy CC2.

4.10 It is recognised that small-scale projects make a valuable contribution to the overall outputs of renewable energy and therefore help meet renewable energy targets both locally and nationally. Only where a developer can satisfy the Council why the higher target cannot be achieved will a lower target be provided.

4.11 The Council will need to make provision for implementing the renewable energy generation targets and strategy set out in the SEP (Policies NRM11- NRM16).

4.12 The speed of progress towards these aims will be kept under review in future local development documents, having regard to Government and regional policy, developments in technology and science, and the impact of viability of development. Technology is changing and new guidance is coming forward from various sources, Government policy is still emerging.

4.13 The policy will be delivered through:

  1. Preparation of the Managing Development Delivery DPD and a SPD on Sustainable Development;
  2. Development control and building control;
  3. Private and public sector development – particularly through implementation of emerging good practice;
  4. Close working with other agencies and utilities including the Environment Agency and water utilities, particularly in relation to pollution control, flooding and water conservation, efficiency and recycling measures.

4.14 The community, Government and regional policy (PPG24 & SEP Policy NRM10 respectively) recognise the need for proposals to avoid areas of noise. Within the borough, noise issues arise in a variety of locations including alongside the major roads (M4 & A329(M)/A3290) and the railway lines within the Strategic Transport Network (see paragraph 4.56). Proposals should have regard to the advice in PPG24 concerning the suitability of different locations (based on noise exposure levels) for a variety of activities and the Air Quality Management Areas of the borough. The LAA includes targets for dealing with local concerns about anti-social behaviours and crime. Initiatives such as 'Secured by Design' can make a contribution to this.


CP2 - Inclusive communities

To ensure that new development contributes to the provision of sustainable and inclusive communities (including the provision of community facilities) to meet long term needs, planning permission will be granted for proposals that address the requirements of:

  1. An ageing population, particularly in terms of housing, health and wellbeing;
  2. Children, young people and families, including the co-ordination of services to meet their needs;
  3. People with special needs, including those with a physical, sensory or learning disability or problems accessing services; and
  4. The specific identified needs of minority groups in the borough, including Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople and black and minority ethnic groups. Proposals for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople (including allocations in other Development Plan Documents) will demonstrate that:
    1. The site is located either within or close to the development limits of a settlement in policy CP9 in order to maximise the possibilities for social inclusion and sustainable patterns of living; and
    2. The proposed site is not disproportionate to the scale of the existing settlement whether singly or cumulatively with any existing sites in the area.

4.15 In order to achieve sustainable development, it is important that the needs of all sections of the population are met through development. All proposals should take into account relevant equality and diversity legislation. Additionally, proposals for any specific part of the community should take account of other relevant legislation. For example provision for Gypsies and Travellers should accord with the approach outlined in the LDF and take account of the Housing Act and Circular 1/2006 which requires sites to be identified to meet needs. Allocations (if required) will be examined following the early revision of the SEP. The meeting of the South East England Regional Assembly on 4 March 2009 agreed recommendations to the Secretary of State regarding permanent pitch requirements to 2016. For Wokingham Borough, it was recommended that the requirement is:

  1. 21 pitches for gypsies and travellers; and
  2. 2 pitches for travelling showpeople.

Once the Secretary of State has confirmed the requirement (through a revision of the SEP), the Council will allocate sites (if necessary) through the Managing Development Delivery DPD.

4.16 The Council recognises that household size and associated needs varies across social and ethnic groups. The Council recognises that addressing the needs of young people includes those in the care of the authority due to their vulnerability. Some of the issues in planning for changes in the demography of the borough are outlined in section 3.

4.17 Community facilities include development for health (including preventative social care and community support services), education, play and leisure or culture together with libraries, village/community halls and religious buildings. It also includes burial sites.

4.18 Sustainably meeting the needs of young people includes ensuring that children of primary school age have access to a school within walking or cycling distance of their home (3-4km) along a safe route. Furthermore, young people aged 13-19 need to have sufficient access to positive activities and safe places to go.


CP3 - General Principles for development

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that:

  1. Are of an appropriate scale of activity, mass, layout, built form, height, materials and character to the area together with a high quality of design without detriment to the amenities of adjoining land users including open spaces or occupiers and their quality of life;
  2. Provide a functional, accessible, safe, secure and adaptable scheme;
  3. Have no detrimental impact upon important ecological, heritage, landscape (including river valleys) or geological features or water courses.
  4. Maintain or enhance the ability of the site to support fauna and flora including protected species;
  5. Use the full potential of the site and contribute to the support for suitable complementary facilities and uses;
  6. Contribute to a sense of place in the buildings and spaces themselves and in the way they integrate with their surroundings (especially existing dwellings) including the use of appropriate landscaping;
  7. Provide for a framework of open space in secure community use achieving at least 4.65 ha/1,000 population provision together with recreational/sporting facilities in addition to private amenity space;
  8. Contribute towards the provision of an appropriate sustainable network of community facilities;
  9. Do not lead to a net loss of dwellings and other residential accommodation or land; and
  10. Do not lead to a loss of community or recreational facilities/land or infrastructure unless suitable alternative provision is available.

Development proposals will be required to demonstrate how they have responded to the above criteria through the submission of Design and Access Statements, clear and informative plans, elevations and streetscenes and where required Masterplans, Development Briefs, Concept Statements and Design Codes.

4.19 The Wokingham Borough Design Guide SPD (July 2007) seeks to ensure development is of a high standard of design that can integrate with the character of the area is also important to achieving sustainable development in the borough. The provision of public and private amenity space contributes to the character of the borough. All development can impact on the overall character of the area. Consequently, it is vital that the Council minimises any adverse impacts. Each town and village, together with the areas between them has their own unique character which is illustrated in Village Design Statements. Proposals for development must acknowledge this to ensure that the distinctiveness of different parts of the borough is maintained in line with PPS1 (paragraph 13 iv). The authority through the designation of Conservation Areas will recognise the distinctive character of parts of the borough. Proposals should also take account of the results of the Council's Landscape Character Assessment and the vegetation in the area. Areas that are important to the Borough's landscape include Areas of Special Landscape Importance and Sites of Urban Landscape Value. These areas will be reviewed through the Managing Development Delivery DPD. Development proposals in line with PPS9 should demonstrate how they can address the needs of existing wildlife in the area, including the protection and enhancement of wildlife corridors. The Council will produce SPD complimenting the Borough Design Guide to help implement this policy.

4.20 In line with the SCI, the Council will encourage the submission of development briefs or masterplan with major proposals (Tier 1, see paragraphs 3.45 to 3.47 of SCI).

4.21 The SEP (Policy C7) highlight the regional significance of the River Thames Corridor. The valley of the River Thames is identified as an important feature within the Landscape Character Assessment. Other river valleys including the Loddon and Blackwater are also in the highest Landscape Character category. As a consequence of policies on flooding, parts of river valleys cannot be developed. They also contribute towards the separation of settlements. In addition, they provide valuable areas for recreation and have potential as wildlife corridors.

4.22 The Open Space Audit indicates that the borough provides the sites for open recreational activities to both the boroughs of Bracknell Forest and Reading, whereas these authorities provide the sites and buildings for indoor recreation. It is important that proposals recognise and enhance the value of open spaces to contribute to the needs of Boroughs' of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham. The Council's Open Space standards are detailed in the Wokingham District Open Space Audit which was undertaken in accordance with the advice in PPS17. The Open Space Standards are summarised in Appendix 4 and cover quality, quantity and accessibility. This policy will also aid the delivery of green infrastructure within the borough as encouraged in the SEP (Policy CC8) and PPS12 (paragraph 2.4). The delivery of green infrastructure (including Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) under policy CP8) also contributes towards the delivery of healthy communities, including safe access to facilities and opportunities for exercise/recreation42.Open space is to be delivered in perpetuity. Where open space meets the standards for Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG), it can also count towards this provision as detailed in paragraph 4.49.

4.23 In order to maintain a variety of mix of uses throughout the borough, proposals that entail a net loss of community or recreational facilities will not be allowed. This is due to the risk that a loss of variety of activities in the borough could have on the overall sustainability of the area. This is especially an issue where the loss of a use results in longer journeys by less sustainable means to access alternative facilities. The Council will be improving community facilities in the borough, and these will be targeted within the neighbourhoods illustrated in map 2.3.


CP4 - Infrastructure Requirements

Planning permission will not be granted unless appropriate arrangements for the improvement or provision of infrastructure, services, community and other facilities required for the development taking account of the cumulative impact of schemes are agreed.

Arrangements for provision or improvement to the required standard will be secured by planning obligations or condition if appropriate.

4.24 The Council and the community is concerned that all necessary improvements to infrastructure are identified when development is allowed. This community view has been clearly expressed during the earlier stages in producing the Core Strategy. Any improvements to infrastructure, services and community facilities will be assessed in accordance with Circular 05/2005 to ensure that they are:

  1. Relevant to planning,
  2. Necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms,
  3. Directly related to the proposed development,
  4. Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, and
  5. Reasonable in all other respects.

4.25 Where improvements are required by the development, the planning obligations or condition will ensure that they are provided at the appropriate time to ensure the proper planning of the area. Development proposals will not be allowed where the necessary infrastructure required by the scheme is either not available or will not be delivered in line with the phased approach identified for the development concerned, including those in a master plan or development brief. Since the adequacy of infrastructure can be a material consideration in determining planning applications, the Council may impose conditions to ensure that development does not proceed in advance of appropriate and necessary infrastructure improvements. Any master plan or development brief will be consistent with DPD/SPD produced by the authority.

4.26 The Council recognises that depending upon the type of infrastructure improvements necessary from a proposal, there can be significant time lags for their delivery. Applicants will need to consider both the current and future availability of infrastructure to accommodate the development they propose, having regard to developments already approved that are subject to a planning application or are proposed in the LDF.

4.27 Infrastructure includes roads and other transport requirements such as public rights of way enhancements together with the needs of utility suppliers for water, drainage, sewerage, electricity, gas or telecommunications. Improvement to services can include public transport. Community facilities are listed in paragraph 4.17. Other facilities can include those for retail, leisure, recreation such as open space or to mitigate impacts on protected species. Contributions may also be sought for affordable housing and business/community space together with training opportunities and measures to ensure safety of the community. Further guidance on contributions towards infrastructure improvements will be outlined in the Planning Obligations SPD. As part of the preparation of the Planning Obligations SPD, the Council is preparing a Long Term Transport Strategy (LTTS) to inform the calculation of any tariff. Planning Obligations are likely to be superseded by a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). It is anticipated the documents setting CIL will be subject of public examination. This will include background information such as the LTTS. The LTTS will also assist in the consultation on the Infrastructure Delivery SPD. This will be produced so that it can be adopted in tandem with the Core Strategy.

4.28 Proposals will need to demonstrate that there is either sufficient infrastructure capacity or that this can be readily provided as part of any scheme. Consequently, consideration of on and off site improvements will be required in any scheme and the applicant may be required to submit evidence of this. Any assessment of the ability to deliver necessary improvements to infrastructure will need to demonstrate that both the enhancements and the proposal are viable and deliverable. To deliver the necessary improvements required, the Council will consider the use of its Compulsory Purchase powers, when appropriate.

4.29 As paragraphs 2.26 to 2.30 indicate, the Council's strategy for children and young people looks to enhance facilities for all. Where these improvements are related to the SDL in policies CP18-21, these are detailed in the relevant section. However, due to development in the borough, there may be a requirement to increase capacity at other sites. The authority will negotiate contributions in line with this policy to deliver this additional capacity.


CP5 - Housing mix, density and affordability

Planning permission will be granted for residential development providing a mix and balance of densities, dwelling types, tenures and sizes. Affordable housing must reflect the sizes and types that meet the proven needs of people who are not able to compete in the general housing market.

All residential proposals of at least 5 dwellings (net) or covering a net site area of at least 0.16 ha will provide up to 50% of the net additional units proposed as affordable dwellings, where viable. The Council will negotiate the tenure, size and type of affordable units on a site by site basis having regard to housing needs, site specifics and other factors.

Subject to viability, the minimum percentages of affordable housing sought on site by land type and location are:

Land types Location (CP9) Size trigger %
Previously developed land Within Development Limits 5 to 14 dwellings (net) or between 0.16ha and 0.49ha (net) 20
Previouslydeveloped land Within Major Development Location 15 dwellings or more (net) or 0.5ha (net) and larger 30
Previously developed land Within Modest or Limited Development Location 15 dwellings or more (net) or 0.5ha (net) and larger 40
Greenfield Within Major Development Location 5 dwellings (net) or more or 0.16 ha (net) and larger 35
Greenfield Within Modest or Limited Development Location 5 dwellings (net) or more or 0.16 ha (net) and larger 40
Any Outside development location 5 dwellings (net) or more or 0.16 ha (net) and larger 40
Any Strategic Development Location (policies CP18-21) 5 dwellings (net) or more or 0.16 ha (net) or larger 35

Subsequent Development Plan Documents may vary the proportions for affordable housing of allocated sites having regard to the specific viability of the site.

4.30 The provision of a variety of types and sizes of accommodation is desirable across the borough, so that the housing needs of as many households as possible can be met. This helps to ensure that the Plan is sustainable in meeting the housing needs of the community in line with PPS3 (paragraph 29). Depending upon the character and needs of the area, it may not be necessary to include a mix of dwellings in every residential scheme, especially smaller ones. The importance of ensuring adequate provision of affordable housing is recognised in the Audit Report.

4.31 To ensure schemes comply with Policy CP2 regarding socially inclusive communities, affordable housing units should be in accordance with the social landlords requirements which may mean distribution around the proposal and not concentrated in one area, unless there are particular management issues. Due to the exceptional need for affordable housing in the Borough and to achieve its supply until the SDL in policies CP18-21 deliver, the Council has reduced the thresholds at which affordable housing is sought down to five dwellings (net). These thresholds will be reviewed to establish if they are still necessary once the SDL have started contributing towards the provision of affordable housing.

4.32 The Council recognises that the threshold in this policy is consistent with that in the adopted in the WDLP for settlements with 3,000 or fewer residents. Since its adoption in March 2004, the Council has successfully delivered affordable housing on a number of sites of at least 5 dwellings without affecting the financial viability of the proposal43. The Council is unaware of financial factors within settlements of more than 3,000 residents that prevent the delivery of affordable housing on similar sized sites elsewhere in the Borough. This reflects the findings of the Affordable Housing Viability Study, which indicates viable development can be achieved with up to 50% of the units supplied as affordable dwellings. A lowering of the threshold to five means that affordable housing would be provided on smaller sites allocated in subsequent DPD, especially in limited development locations (CP9). Having regard to the Viability Study, the Council has tiered the requirements for affordable housing based upon site location and characteristics. The provision of affordable housing is based upon a 70:30 split between social rent and shared ownership as detailed in the Affordable Housing Viability Study. The Council will use this split as the starting point for negotiations on affordable housing but apply flexibility where there are viability and other site specific issues.

4.33 Applicants for planning permission who wish to suggest a provision below that in policy CP5 based on a viability case must submit with their planning application an open book appraisal of the development finances which demonstrates that the proposal is clearly not viable without a lesser affordable housing provision and/or Social Housing Grant.

4.34 This reduction in threshold to five dwellings recognises the exceptional need for affordable housing within the borough as highlighted in the Berkshire HMA. This indicates that between 64% and 88% of the Borough's annual housing completions would need to be affordable dwellings44. The Council recognises that the application of either a 545 or 1546 dwelling thresholds for requiring affordable housing associated with the percentages in the HMA could affect the delivery of housing. An off-site contribution towards the provision of affordable housing may be acceptable where it is impractical to include on-site, particularly due to the small number of units proposed. The practicalities of this are examined in the Viability Study. Whilst PPS3 indicates that proportions of affordable housing could vary around the area, the Council currently operates a borough-wide waiting list. It is therefore not able to separate the need out to individual settlements. To ensure adequate affordable housing is provided in smaller communities, notwithstanding the lower threshold, the Council considers it necessary to allow for rural exceptions. Further guidance on where affordable housing may be permitted as an exception to usual planning policy is set out in policy CP9.

4.35 In recognition of the changing needs and demographics within the Borough, larger developments (including SDL) should provide a range of different sizes and types of housing, which address these needs across all tenures. This will include the provision of "Lifetime Homes" and other accommodation for the elderly and the vulnerable. This will assist the Council in meeting the needs of an ageing population in the Borough highlighted in the Council's Housing Strategy for Older People. Further information on housing mix will be provided in the Managing Development Delivery DPD.


CP6 - Managing Travel Demand

Planning permission will be granted for schemes that:

  1. Provide for sustainable forms of transport to allow choice;
  2. Are located where there are or will be at the time of development choices in the mode of transport available and which minimise the distance people need to travel;
  3. Improve the existing infrastructure network, including road, rail and public transport, enhance facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, including provision for those with reduced mobility, and other users;
  4. Provide appropriate vehicular parking, having regard to car ownership;
  5. Mitigate any adverse effects upon the local and strategic transport network that arise from the development proposed;
  6. Enhance road safety; and
  7. Do not cause highway problems or lead to traffic related environmental problems.

4.36 Paragraph 2.16 recognises that the borough has one of the highest car ownership rates of any English local authority. To reduce the likelihood that these vehicles will be used and to encourage modal shift, it is important to ensure all proposals achieve sustainable development and that they are assessed for their impacts in generating travel demand. This assessment will need to take account of the cumulative impact of proposals in the area. To help achieve sustainable development, proposals likely to generate significant demands for travel movements should be located in areas with best access to existing good services. This means that people can have the widest range of choice in selecting transport modes and help reduce the use of the private car. The availability of good existing public transport services has been considered in drafting the strategy for the Borough. The Council assumes that this provision will be maintained47 and enhanced by development in the period to 2026. Enhancements will include the measures detailed in policy CP10 together with new/improved feeder bus services to railway stations within and adjoining the borough. During the plan period, opportunities for the improvement of existing railway stations and the possibility of new railway stations will be examined. One way to reduce congestion will be to provide better bus services for school children. The approach of this policy is consistent with the LAA and the LTP. Measures to improve accessibility to the transport network will also have regard to the requirements of policy CP7 concerning avoiding significant affects upon Natura 2000 sites.

4.37 In line with the WDLP definition, good public transport services meet the following requirements:

  1. At least a thirty minute service frequency during peak times (7:00 to 9:00 and 16:00 to 19:00 Monday to Saturday); and
  2. At least an hourly service frequency during off-peak hours (9:00 to 16:00 and 19:00 to 22:00 Monday to Saturday and between 7:00 and 22:00 on Sundays).

4.38 The appropriate vehicular parking is set out in the Council's standards. This is currently in WDLP Appendix 8, but a SPD will replace it. Parking provision will have regard to the potential level of vehicle ownership/use and the availability of high quality alternative means of transport.

4.39 Enhancement of public transport provision could include increased frequencies and improved integration between bus and rail routes together with the provision of new stops or routes. The Council will look towards proposals contributing towards solutions which enhance the sustainability of the site together with the location generally. This is because improving access to sustainable transport modes to the existing population should create capacity within the network to cope with new development. This policy is consistent with the LAA (NI 175 and 198).


CP7 - Biodiversity

Sites designated as of importance for nature conservation at an international or national level will be conserved and enhanced and inappropriate development will be resisted. The degree of protection given will be appropriate to the status of the site in terms of its international or national importance.

Development:

  1. Which may harm county designated sites (Local Wildlife Sites in Berkshire), whether directly or indirectly, or
  2. Which may harm habitats or, species of principle importance in England for nature conservation, veteran trees or features of the landscape that are of major importance for wild flora and fauna (including wildlife and river corridors), whether directly or indirectly, or
  3. That compromises the implementation of the national, regional, county and local biodiversity action plans will be only permitted if it has been clearly demonstrated that the need for the proposal outweighs the need to safeguard the nature conservation importance, that no alternative site that would result in less or no harm is available which will meet the need, and:
    1. Mitigation measures can be put in place to prevent damaging impacts; or
    2. Appropriate compensation measures to offset the scale and kind of losses are provided.

4.40 SEP Policy NRM5 (criterion iii) recognises that the need to protect European sites from likely significant effects could mean that housing targets in Policy H1 are not achievable. The Habitats Regulations Assessment (see paragraph 2.67) indicates that the development currently envisaged through the Core Strategy can be delivered without likely significant harm upon any European sites (either on their own or in-combination with other plans or projects). However, the Council will assess each plan or project in line with NRM5 to confirm that they can be delivered without likely significant harm (either on their own or in-combination with other plans or projects).

4.41 The need for a development that affects a Site of Special Scientific Interest will be deemed to outweigh the need to safeguard the nature conservation interest where the development has clear social or economic benefits of national importance. The need for a development that affects Local Wildlife Sites, habitats or, species of principal importance in England for nature conservation, ancient woodland, veteran trees or features of the landscape that are of major importance for wild flora and fauna will be deemed to outweigh the need to safeguard the nature conservation interest where the development has clear social or economic benefits of regional or national importance.

4.42 The conservation of sites designated as important to nature conservation, habitats or species of principal importance in England for nature conservation and features of the landscape that are of major importance for wild flora and fauna are essential for the maintenance of the area's biodiversity and the quality of life of the borough's residents. All developments should take account of the biodiversity, and where possible developments should contribute to the enhancement of the borough's biodiversity. The Wokingham District Biodiversity Action Plan48 highlights targets where proposals can contribute towards their achievement and the Council has identified a number of Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (in line with SEP Policy NRM5) that are priorities for the maintenance, restoration and creation of priority habitats. Biodiversity Opportunity Areas have the highest concentration of existing ecological sites e.g. Local Wildlife Sites. Consequently, in these areas, measures to support and enhance biodiversity are most likely to deliver benefits. Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre surveyed the borough for potential Biodiversity Opportunity Areas during the 2007/08 financial year. Information on biodiversity within the Borough can be obtained from the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC)49. Further details on the level of protection appropriate to international, national and local sites are detailed in PPS9 (including the accompanying Good Practice Guide), ODPM Circular 06/2005 and SEP Policies NRM5 and NRM7. Where a proposal is likely to have a significant effect upon a Natura 2000 site, the authority will expect the applicant to supply it with sufficient information to demonstrate how these impacts will be avoided.

4.43 The Managing Development Delivery DPD will provide further details on the application of this policy. The Berkshire Nature Conservation Forum advises on the boundaries of Local Wildlife Sites (formerly Wildlife Heritage Sites), including deletions, additions and amendments. Consequently, they may change from the current ones defined in WDLP Policy WNC5 (as amended by the Council decision on 27 July 2006). Details of international, national, regional and county biodiversity sites are available on the Council's website.


CP8 - Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area

Development which alone or in combination is likely to have a significant effects on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area will be required to demonstrate that adequate measures to avoid and mitigate any potential adverse effects are delivered.

4.44 Within 400m (linear) of the TBH SPA, the authority and Natural England do not consider it is generally possible to avoid impact from development. Therefore, no proposal for residential development will be allowed due to the risks of fires, fly-tipping, cat predation and other impacts. This view has been accepted by the Assessor50 who considered the validity of Natural England's evidence on the matter as part of the examination into the SEP. This approach is also consistent with the Appropriate Assessment and SEP Policy NRM6.

4.45 Having regard to the findings of Natural England's visitor surveys51, SEP Policy NRM6 and the Delivery Framework52, the authority (in the Appropriate Assessment) concludes that residential proposals involving increases of one or more net additional dwelling within 5km (linear) of the SPA will need to be assessed for whether there is likely to be significant impacts. This distance covers 70% of all visitors. Furthermore, within the area from which 80% of visitors come (equates to 7km linear), the Appropriate Assessment recognises that proposals of 50 dwellings or more dwellings will need to be assessed for whether they are likely to generate significant impacts. The Appropriate Assessment indicates that as all of the SDL (policies CP18-21) propose at least 50 dwellings within 7km of the TBH SPA, they are likely to have a significant affect upon the site. Where residential schemes include avoidance and mitigation measures, the likely significant effects upon the TBH SPA will have been addressed.

4.46 Whilst each SDL will include their own measures to avoid the significant impacts upon the TBH SPA, the Council recognises that other schemes for residential development will come forward before 2026 on sites where a likely significant impact without avoidance measures would occur. The Council is working with the National Trust to deliver an impact avoidance site at Simons Wood, Wellingtonia Avenue, Crowthorne. This site will function as part of a suite of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANG) within the borough, alongside those of the SDL. The Simons Wood SANG will be complimented by other sites identified in the Managing Development Delivery DPD to avoid the impacts of development on the TBH SPA.

4.47 The Council recognises that Gorrick Plantation, Nine Mile Ride, Crowthorne contains populations of Woodlarks and Nightjars. The density of nightjars in every year from 1999 to at least 2004 has been higher than any part of the SPA. In the review of Natura 2000 sites expected between 2008 and 2010, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee may conclude that Gorrick Plantation should be included within a Special Protection Area. Whilst its potential inclusion may affect the ability to deliver residential schemes on sites to be identified in the Managing Development Delivery DPD, it will however not affect the SDL around Wokingham as the impact avoidance measures to address the issues associated with the TBH SPA, will also apply in the event that Gorrick Plantation is designated. Pending the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's review of Natura 2000 sites, the Council in line with the requirements of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will consider the impacts of development on the Habitats Directive Annex 1 birds (Nightjar and Woodlark) at Gorrick Plantation under policy CP7 and SEP Policy NRM5.

4.48 In line with the findings of the Appropriate Assessment, it is recognised that non-residential development could also have a significant effect upon the SPA. This could either be from linked trips including a recreational use of the SPA53 or from workers employed close to the SPA using the area during breaks (especially lunch time). Consequently, proposals for non-residential development will also need assessing for whether they are likely to have a significant effect upon the SPA. Where non-residential schemes include avoidance and mitigation measures, the likely significant effects upon the TBH SPA will have been addressed.

4.49 The Appropriate Assessment indicates that to ensure that development avoids its likely significant impact upon the SPA, the following principles will apply:

  1. Dwellinghouses and other residential development (including staff accommodation in use class C2) will need to provide avoidance and mitigation measures where:
    1. The proposal involves the provision of one or more net additional residential unit and is within 5km (linear) of the SPA. Contributions to on site SPA access management measures and monitoring in line with the Delivery Framework will be required together with provision of SANG at a minimum of 8ha/1,000 population (calculated at a rate of 2.4 persons per household). This monitoring includes the effectiveness of the SANG;
    2. The proposal provides 50 or more residential units within 7km (linear). In this case, the proposal will be individually assessed for whether a significant effect upon the SPA is likely either on its own or in combination with other plans or projects around the site. Where avoidance and mitigation measures are required to address likely significant effects, this is likely to involve SANG together with funding towards monitoring the effectiveness of the solution agreed;
    3. There is a 400m exclusion zone from the SPA for any net additional dwellings due to the inability to avoid likely significant effects upon the SPA.
  2. SANG to be provided and maintained in perpetuity in line with the quality and quantity standards advocated by Natural England. The size and location of SANG contributes towards the delivery of healthy communities in line with advice from the Department of Health and NICE. In order to ensure access to avoidance sites in perpetuity, the Council's preference is for the authority to own any SANG. Where SANG also meets the definition of open space (see Appendix 4), it can also count towards this provision i.e. at least 1 ha/1,000 of the SANG could also contribute towards the Natural Greenspace requirement and vice versa; and
  3. Non-residential development will be individually assessed for their likely significant effects. Where avoidance and mitigation measures are required, monitoring of their effectiveness will be necessary.

Managing growth


CP9 – Scale and location of development proposals

The scale of development proposals in Wokingham borough must reflect the existing or proposed levels of facilities and services at or in the location, together with their accessibility. Development proposals (in additional to the Strategic Development Locations in policies CP18-21) within development limits will be acceptable in:

  1. The major development locations of Earley, Green Park, Shinfield (North of M4), Twyford, Winnersh, Wokingham and Woodley;
  2. The modest development locations of Arborfield Garrison, Pinewood (Crowthorne), Finchampstead North, Ruscombe, Shinfield, Spencers Wood, Three Mile Cross and Wargrave.
  3. The limited development locations of Arborfield Cross, Barkham Hill, Charvil, Finchampstead, Hurst, Riseley, Sindlesham, Sonning and Swallowfield.
  4. The boundary of the Science Park proposed under policy CP16 as defined in the Managing Development Delivery DPD.

Affordable housing on rural exception sites will be permitted adjoining the Development Limits of Modest or Limited Development Locations, if a need is demonstrated for residents, workers or other people with family connections within the Parish Council's area.

4.50 The Council has had regard to the advice in SEP Policies SP2, SP3, CC6, RE3, H1, H2, T1, C4, C5, BE1, BE4, BE5, TC2, WCBV1, WCBV2 & WCBV3 and the information on facilities and services detailed in appendix 3 (as to be enhanced by proposals in the Core Strategy). The SDL in policies CP18-21 have been selected on the basis of compliance with this policy. Proposals will need to demonstrate how they can achieve sustainable development, especially if they precede significant improvements in services and facilities (including good public transport) envisaged in this Plan. The accessibility of sites will be assessed having regard to whether good public transport services are available (or can be made available) as defined in paragraph 4.37. The Council will have regard to the cumulative impact of all proposals during the Plan period with regard to these limits. This is to ensure balanced communities and sustainable development is achieved which reflects the social fabric of the borough.

4.51 For consistency, appendix 5 indicates how settlements in adjoining authorities (along the main public transport routes from the borough) would have been classified under policy CP9 (see also SEP Policy T8).

4.52 The Assessment of Hierarchy of Settlements applies the Spatial and Sustainability Objectives of the Sustainability Appraisal to each settlement. Having regard to its findings, the Core Strategy divides each of the borough's settlements into one of the three categories identified in policy CP9.

  1. Major development locations are those with the greatest range of facilities and services which also allow residents the greatest choice in modes to access them. It is it within the development limits of these settlements where major development (including urban extensions within these limits) would be acceptable;
  2. Modest development locations are those with access to some facilities and services either within them or through good public transport services to major development locations or centres in neighbouring areas e.g. Bracknell, Crowthorne and Reading. It is within the development limits of these settlements where modest development would be acceptable. The limits on the acceptable scale of development are based upon former BSP policy DP1 together with the dwelling completion information summarised in appendix 3;
  3. Limited development locations are those containing a basic range of services and facilities and are physically and socially cohesive. Within the development limits of these settlements, limited development would be acceptable. This includes affordable housing to meet identified local needs. The limits on the acceptable scale of development are based upon the dwelling completion information summarised in appendix 3.

4.53 Associated with each SDL, the Council will be producing individual Development Brief (including masterplan) SPD together with an overarching Infrastructure Delivery SPD. The Infrastructure Delivery SPD will detail the phasing of all the associated improvements to infrastructure, facilities and services within each SDL. For the SDL proposed through policies CP18 and CP19, these improvements would enhance the overall sustainability of Arborfield Garrison, Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross. Consequently, once the following improvements envisaged through policies CP18 and CP19 (respectively) have been achieved or are programmed (as part of the proposal) in a legal agreement associated with a planning permission, major development proposals in line with CP9 would also be acceptable in Arborfield Garrison, Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross.

  1. Arborfield Garrison – the secondary school and district centre (in line with CP13);
  2. Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross – appropriate additional retail facilities

4.54 Until the adoption of the Managing Development Delivery DPD, the Council will treat the settlement boundaries defined in the WDLP54 as the relevant Development Limit, subject to the areas defined for development in the SDL concept plans. The CS Map Changes also indicates the amendments to the Proposals Map arising from the re-classification of settlements through this policy (from Category A/B to major/modest/ limited). The definition of Development Limits recognises the consistent approach in planning to identify appropriate and sustainable areas for development.


CP10 - Improvements to the Strategic Transport Network

Improvements to the Strategic Transport Network will be provided to ameliorate major environmental or safety problems and to support new development in partnership with other authorities. The improvements to the strategic transport network are:

Improvement to Strategic
transport network
Extent Improvement is
part of Core Strategy
Funding
Sub-Regional55

 

Integral to
Core Strategy
Adjacent authority strategy National/ regional funding Apply for through LTP S106 and
WBC funds
1 – Measures to improve
cross Thames travel which may include a bridge56
     
2 – Reading Road to
Wellington road link, Wokingham
     
3 – Improvements to the
railway bridges on the A321 Finchampstead Road, Wokingham
       
4 – Re-building
Wokingham station as a public transport interchange, including provision of access by foot, cycle and public transport
   
5 – Provide a Park & Ride
near the Coppid Beech roundabout on the A329 in Wokingham
       
6 - Improvements to M4
Junction 11 and A33
Mereoak roundabout, Three Mile Cross
   
7 – Provide a Park & Ride
in the vicinity of M4, Junction 11
   
8 – Winnersh relief road        
9 – Twyford Eastern relief
road
         
10 – High quality express
bus services or mass rapid transit along the A4 and A329 corridors
     
11 – High quality express
bus services or mass rapid transit between Reading
and Woodley town centres
     
12 – High quality express
bus services between Green Park and Twyford stations via the Park & Rides in the vicinity of M4, J11 and Loddon Bridge and Winnersh Triangle railway station
       
13 – Reading station
improvements
     
14 – Great Western
mainline improvements
       
15 – Western access by rail to Heathrow airport
including Airtrack
         
16 – Crossrail      ✔57    
17 – Improvements listed
in policies CP18-21
       
18 – Measures to maintain
the operation of the network during times of flooding
     
19 – Improvements to the
quality and frequency of public transport services along any part of the network
       
20 – Improvements to
increase the use of bicycles, including cycle paths
       
21 – Enhancements to
footpath and cycle networks to improve access to services and facilities.
       
22 - Improvements to M4 Junction 10.        

4.55 Infrastructure improvements associated with the SDL are detailed in CP18- 21. Depending upon the improvements, proposals outside of the SDL may need to contribute as part of the cumulative resolution of the issue. It is imperative that these are provided otherwise the scheme would not achieve a sustainable quality of life. Indicative alignments for the improvements to the Strategic Transport Network will be shown in the Managing Development Delivery DPD. Improvements associated with the SDL are included in the concept plans. Other proposals for improvements to the Strategic Transport Network may arise including those to ensure that the Community Resilience functions of the authority are maintained e.g. access along the Strategic Transport Network at times of flooding for the emergency services.

4.56 The strategic transport network through the borough comprises all the motorways, A and B class roads together with the railway lines from Reading to Guildford & Gatwick Airport, Basingstoke, London Paddington and London Waterloo together with the line from Twyford to Henley-on-Thames. This Strategic Transport Network is consistent with that defined in the LTP.


CP11 - Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside)

In order to protect the separate identity of settlements and maintain the quality of the environment, proposals outside of development limits will not normally be permitted except where:

  1. It contributes to diverse and sustainable rural enterprises within the borough, or in the case of other countryside based enterprises and activities, it contributes and/or promotes recreation in, and enjoyment of, the countryside; and
  2. It does not lead to excessive encroachment or expansion of development away from the original buildings; and
  3. It is contained within suitably located buildings which are appropriate for conversion, or in the case of replacement buildings would bring about environmental improvement; or
  4. In the case of residential extensions, does not result in inappropriate increases in the scale, form or footprint of the original building;
  5. In the case of replacement dwellings the proposal must:
  6. Bring about environmental improvements; or
  7. Not result in inappropriate increases in the scale, form or footprint of the original building.
    1. Essential community facilities cannot be accommodated within development limits or through the re-use/replacement of an existing building;
    2. Affordable housing on rural exception sites in line with CP9.

4.57 Restricting development outside of development limits also helps protect the separate identity of settlements and maintain the quality of the borough's environment which is recognised in the Audit Report. Preventing the proliferation of development in areas away from existing development limits is important, as they are not generally well located for the facilities and services. Proposals for development, which would be an increase over what currently exists (outside development limits) are likely to lead to increased use of the private car as they are poorly served by other transport modes contrary to Policy CP6. Proposals may be able to address deficiencies in accessibility to services through contributions in line with Policy CP4.

4.58 Proposals for agricultural workers dwellings will need to demonstrate that they comply with this policy and PPS7. Community facilities are listed in paragraph 4.17. The Council recognises the role of leisure and recreational activities (that do not require significant buildings) to maintain the character of the countryside. Cemeteries can also perform this role. Proposals within the Green Belt must also comply with PPG2 and Policy CP12.


CP12 - Green Belt

Planning permission will not be granted for inappropriate development within the Metropolitan Green Belt as defined in PPG2. The Metropolitan Green Belt in the borough as illustrated on the key diagram comprises the land north and east of Twyford but excluding Wargrave. It also includes the land in the parish of St. Nicholas Hurst east of The Straight Mile and north of Carter's Hill.

4.59 In line with the guidance in PPG2, one of the key features of Green Belts is their permanence. SEP Policy SP5 indicates that Green Belts in the region will be supported. PPG2, paragraph 2.6 indicates that changes to Green Belt boundaries should only be made in exceptional circumstances. The Council does not consider that exceptional circumstances exist to warrant changes to the Green Belt during the Plan period as all the development needs for the Borough can be accommodated sustainably elsewhere. This is consistent with the findings of the SHLAA and SEP paragraph 21.6 which does not indicate that a review of the Green Belt is required at any locations within Wokingham Borough.

4.60 Within the borough's Green Belt any proposal that harms the open character of the area or entails inappropriate development will not be acceptable. Forms of appropriate development are listed in PPG2 (paragraphs 3.4 to 3.10).

4.61 The precise boundary of the Green Belt will be defined in the Managing Development Delivery DPD. Pending the production of this DPD, the extent of the Green Belt will reflect that designated by WDLP Policy WGB1. There is currently one major developed site within the Green Belt at the Star Brick & Tile Works, Knowl Hill (WDLP Policy WGB6). The Managing Development Delivery DPD will consider whether this or any other major developed site is necessary within the borough.


CP13 – Town centres and shopping

Wokingham and Woodley town centres, Lower Earley district centre, Shinfield Road centre, Twyford village centre and Winnersh centre are suitable in principle to accommodate town centre uses. The roles of all existing and new retail centres will be protected and maintained, in addition to local shopping centres and parades that meet the day to day needs of the local community. Losses of retail from primary retail frontages will not be permitted in order to maintain vitality and viability.

New retail centres that will not impact upon existing retail centres may be designated through the Local Development Framework. The hierarchy of centres within the borough is:

  1. Wokingham town centre is designated as a major town centre;
  2. Arborfield Garrison district centre (proposed through policy CP18), Lower Earley district centre, Shinfield Road district centre, Twyford village centre, Winnersh village centre and Woodley town centre are designated as small town/district centres
  3. Local centres – as defined in subsequent Development Plan Documents

4.62 The existing retail centres in Wokingham borough are Lower Earley district centre, Twyford village centre together with Wokingham and Woodley town centres. The various centres of the borough took 15% of all retail expenditure in 200558, which the authority aims to increase to improve the vitality and viability of centres within the borough. Centres outside the borough (including details of their share of borough retail expenditure) include Bracknell (7.5%), Maidenhead (1.4%) and Reading (62.1%). Town centre uses are defined as retailing, entertainment, arts and culture, indoor recreation, leisure, health, community and office uses. Community uses are defined in paragraph 4.17.

4.63 Table 4.2 provides information (derived from the Retail Study) on the current and potential needs during the plan period of retail floorspace within the four main centres of the borough. Having regard to this, the Council expects that the roles of each centre during the Plan period will be as follows:

  1. Earley – to serve the convenience needs of its catchment together with some limited comparison goods. It will also become a stronger focus for the community, providing for an enhanced civic function.
  2. Twyford – to serve the convenience needs of its catchment together with some limited comparison goods. The Retail Study indicates a number of improvements to the quality of the centre which will be considered through the Managing Development Delivery DPD.
  3. Wokingham – to serve the convenience needs of its catchment and to reduce leakage of comparison expenditure to other centres. Policy CP15 sets out the broad approach to achieving this in line with the findings of the Retail Study. As table 4.1 indicates, Wokingham town is the largest retail centre in the borough.
  4. Woodley – to serve the convenience needs of its catchment together with some limited comparison goods. The Retail Study indicates a number of improvements that could be made to the usage of the main pedestrian precinct. These will be considered through the Managing Development Delivery DPD.

Table 4.1 – Summary of current floorspace and potential future capacity for centres in Wokingham Borough (convenience & comparison)


Centre Floorspace
(2007) (m2)59
Potential additional floorspace (m2)
2011 2021 2026
Conv Comp Conv Comp Conv Comp Conv Comp
Wokingham 3,305 12,902 500 1,050 900 3,900 1,800 12,350
Earley 5,101 3,184 2,450 350 3,000 800 4,200 1,950
Twyford 1,938 1,948 250 200 350 450 600 1,050
Woodley 2,709 5,413 900 650 1,100 1,450 1,450 3,350
Rest of borough     3,102 0 3,972 1,299 6,075 4,549

4.67 To maintain the range of activities available in defined centres so that they are at the heart of sustainable communities, proposals leading to the loss of town centre uses will not be allowed unless it is substantiated that there is no deficiency in the catchment. Furthermore, proposals for the loss of convenience stores outside defined centres but within development limits will need to demonstrate that appropriate alternative provision is available or there is no demand for the unit. Further guidance on this will be set out in the Managing Development Delivery DPD.


CP14 - Growth and Renaissance of Wokingham Town Centre

Wokingham, as a major town centre in Berkshire is considered suitable for growth. Proposals should retain and enhance the historic market town character of Wokingham and maintain its position in the Berkshire retail hierarchy by:

  1. Strengthening shopping in the retail core to reduce leakage of expenditure;
  2. Conserving and enhancing historic quality and interest;
  3. Improving existing public space;
  4. Ensuring development cumulatively provides and maintains:
    1. A wide range of services, learning opportunities, community facilities and tourist facilities that complement existing provision;
    2. Housing;
    3. Office accommodation;
    4. Public open space providing for a range of activities;
    5. Leisure and entertainment;
    6. Improved pedestrian links between the station and the shopping streets;
    7. Improved pedestrian and cycle links between the centre and other parts of the town;
    8. Appropriate car parking to facilitate a viable and sustainable town centre;
    9. Enhanced environmental and design quality.
  5. The use of compulsory purchase powers to facilitate site assembly and the delivery of renewal and regeneration schemes.

4.68 Further information on how the proposals in Wokingham town centre will contribute towards this policy will be set out in both the Managing Development Delivery DPD and the Wokingham Town Centre Development Guide SPD. The former BSP (Policy S1) recognised that Wokingham town centre was a major centre.

4.69 The rejuvenation of Wokingham town centre is consistent with the views of the community (LPS3) and the Audit Report's conclusions. Improving the centre means that it can better meet the needs of residents and prevent decline associated with loss of expenditure following expansion in nearby larger centres. The Retail Study indicates proposals within the town centre should contribute towards lengthening the time visitors stay (including into the evenings), as this will contribute towards the vitality and viability of the centre. The Retail Study (see table 4.1 earlier) indicates that there is scope for additional comparison floorspace in the centre to help reduce the current leakage. The main funding for the regeneration is from the Council's own land interests in the town centre, S106 and regional funding that comes with the LTP and private funding from developers. The indicative timetable for completion of the competitive dialogue process is Spring 2010.


CP15 - Employment Development

Development for business, industry or warehousing will be permitted, including the expansion or intensification of existing employment uses provided it is within one of the following Core Employment Areas:

  1. Green Park Business Park, Reading;
  2. Headley Road East, Woodley;
  3. Hogwood Industrial Estate, Park Lane, Finchampstead;
  4. Molly Millars Industrial Estate, Wokingham;
  5. Ruscombe Business Park, Ruscombe;
  6. Sutton's Industrial Estate, Earley;
  7. Thames Valley Business Park, Earley;
  8. Toutley Industrial Estate, Wokingham; or
  9. Winnersh Triangle Business Park, Winnersh.

Elsewhere within development limits the redevelopment, refurbishment or minor extension of buildings in employment use will be acceptable in principle.

Some scope for limited additional employment development may be identified in:

  1. The Managing Development Delivery DPD;
  2. Within the Strategic Development Locations as detailed within the proposed SDL Masterplan SPDs (Policies CP18-21); or
  3. The retail centres defined in policy CP13 for office proposals.

Any proposed changes of use from B1, B2 & B8 should not lead to an overall net loss of floorspace in B Use within the borough. Provision will be made for a range of sizes, types, quality and locations of premises and sites in order to meet incubator/start up, move on, expansion and investment accommodation needs and having regard to the needs of specific sectors of the business community.

All proposals for employment development (including offices in line with Policies CP13 and CP14) will include mitigation commensurate with the impact of the development on the demand for housing, labour, skills, traffic and highways.

4.70 A good supply of a range of sizes, types and location of available sites and buildings is a pre-requisite to a thriving economy. This will be monitored through the AMR. The Employment Land Study indicates the current level of floorspace for industry and warehousing would need to rise by 51,000sq m to meet forecast employment growth in the Borough over the Plan period. This represents approximately a 10% increase in stock and can be met through the intensification of use brought about through the redevelopment of existing employment areas and new allocations in the Managing Development Delivery DPD. The increase in floorspace of 40% approved as part of the redevelopment of Winnersh Triangle (Planning application no. O/2006/9071) demonstrates the ability to significantly intensify the use of existing employment sites. The provision of limited employment within SDL will help achieve sustainable development.

4.71 Through the creation of additional floorspace on existing and new sites, it will also be possible for the reuse of some existing employment sites for other uses, especially in those locations where there is a demand for other uses and/or a lack of demand for business uses without a net loss in employment floorspace. Such areas could include Molly Millars Industrial Estate and land on the south side of Headley Road, Woodley.

4.72 The Employment Land Study indicates that around 78,000sq m additional office space (7% uplift in stock), should be allocated between Wokingham and Reading boroughs. It is anticipated that this will be provided through the implementation of commitments at Green Park and Thames Valley Park, redevelopment of existing sites in Wokingham and South Reading and the development of new town centre office accommodation in Reading Borough. The uplift in floorspace anticipated through redevelopment leaves scope for The Manor at Shinfield, which was allocated for 18,750m2 of Class B1 floorspace in the WDLP to be used for a wider purpose consistent with the proper planning of the South of the M4 SDL (policy CP19). This could include the provision of a science park under policy CP16 on an alternative site. In addition some employment provision could be in the form of live/work units.

4.73 The extent of Core Employment Areas will be defined in the Managing Development Delivery DPD. Until this is adopted, the boundaries of the Core Employment Areas defined under WDLP Policy WEM2 will be used. The Managing Development Delivery DPD will also consider how the identified shortfall in office space may be met in Wokingham Borough should it be required. The shortfall in office floorspace needs to be addressed to reflect the conclusions of the Appropriate Assessment. For employment policy for sites outside development limits see Policy CP11. The Managing Development Delivery DPD will include a criteria based policy on the application of this policy outside Core Employment Areas, replacing Policy WEM5 of the WDLP.

4.74 In the recent past, employment development has been undertaken with a relatively limited examination of its wider impact. In particular, in Berkshire there has been a faster rate of growth in the number of jobs than in the labour supply. SEP (Policies RE5 and RE6) recognise the importance of smart growth within the Western Corridor & Blackwater Valley sub-region. Policy RE6 recognises the need to maximise the productive capital of the subregion's resources including human capital, land and natural resources whilst addressing transport and skill constraints. Furthermore, SEP paragraph 21.10 recognises the status of Reading within the sub-region and the challenges posed by issues such as congestion, labour shortages and a globalised economy. To address these issues, there are a variety of measures. For transport, this could take the form of contributions to public transport investment schemes outlined in LTP or policy CP10. As regards housing pressure, it could involve contributions towards the provision of affordable housing. Housing pressures arising from development may be reduced if ways could be found of increasing opportunities for the existing workforce to take employment. For example, childcare provision may help parents to undertake paid work more easily, training facilities can help people gain skills, which are now needed in the marketplace. In pursuit of this more holistic approach, employment proposals will need to include an Employment Impact Statement, which shows the number and type of jobs likely to be generated, how they expect to source their labour and what the wider implications of doing so will be taking account of any mitigation under this policy.


CP16 – Science Park

A Science Park will be developed South of the M4 in Shinfield parish. The proposal will include mitigation commensurate with its impact on the demand for housing, labour, skills, traffic and highways as required in CP15.

4.75 The Employment Land Study has indicated that the provision of a Science Park within the borough would enhance the Borough's employment base. Its provision would also overcome an issue identified in the Audit Report concerning the need to maintain and enhance the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce in the borough. The RES (page 25) recognises the role of universities and other higher education institutions in encouraging knowledge based industries and it identifies the potential for nationally important innovation cluster to be developed in the Thames Valley. The SEP (paragraph 21.13) recognises that the Greater Reading authorities should work together to facilitate the expansion and diversification of the University of Reading as a promoter of research and development in collaboration with the commercial sector via the development of a research-based science park within this area. The identification of a location within Shinfield Parish south of the M4 is consistent with the SEP (paragraph 21.16). Any site for a Science Park must be able to be made readily accessible to non-car transport modes to help mitigate its impact. Initially in the period to 2016, a high quality campus of approximately 20,000m2 will be developed which fully reflect the landscape characteristics of its site. Further development will take place in the remainder of the plan period subject to there being identified need and demand together with resolution of any transport, landscape and design considerations to maintain the exceptionally high quality environment initially developed. It is likely that some 55,000m2 of floorspace will have been completed by 2026.

4.76 The Council will work with the University of Reading (as the potential associated higher education institution) and relevant landowners to identify an appropriate site in the Managing Development Delivery DPD for the Science Park. Having regard to the scale of development, before planning permission is granted for the development of the Science Park, the authority should ensure the following have taken place:

  1. Appropriate pre-application discussions;
  2. Appropriate public consultation has been carried out (see Tier 1 of the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) (paragraphs 3.45 to 3.47)); and
  3. The Managing Development Delivery DPD confirming the Science Park allocation and a subsequent Development Brief SPD (incorporating a masterplan) for the Science Park has been adopted.

The site will be restricted to appropriate uses for a Science and Innovation Park such as research and development, laboratories and high tech uses together with ancillary and related uses such as a crèche provided that they do not undermine its key purpose.


CP17 - Housing delivery

Provision will be made for the development of at least 13,230 dwellings and associated development and infrastructure in the Borough in the period 2006- 2026 for which substantial investment in infrastructure will be required. These will be provided in the following phases:

April 2006 to March 2011 – an average of 600 dwellings per annum
April 2011 to March 2016 – an average of 700 dwellings per annum
April 2016 to March 2021 – an average of 723 dwellings per annum
April 2021 to March 2026 – an average of 623 dwellings per annum

The Council through subsequent DPD will phase and manage the release of allocated sites to ensure the overall targets for the Plan period are met. This will include the identification of reserve housing sites in subsequent DPD, which will be allocated for development post 2026. Allocated sites may be brought forward from a later phasing period where this would not undermine the delivery of sustainable development, including the availability of infrastructure. The early release of sites will be considered by the authority's Executive to ensure the achievement of the overall requirement and the maintenance of a rolling five year supply of housing land.

In summary, based at 1 April 2008, the Council expects the at least 13,230 dwelling requirement to be met from the following sources:


Completions (1/4/06-31/3/08) 1,506
Existing commitments (planning permissions, resolutions to grant, unimplemented allocations in WDLP) (excludes sites within an SDL) 2,373
Sites to be identified in Major Development Locations 550
Sites to be identified in Modest Development Locations where they should generally not exceed 100 dwellings. 350
Sites to be identified in Limited Development Locations where they should generally not exceed 25 dwellings. 100
Arborfield Garrison SDL (CP19) 3,400
South of the M4 SDL (CP20) 2,500
North Wokingham SDL (CP21) 1,500
South Wokingham SDL (CP22) 2,500
Flexibility -1,292
TOTAL: 13,487

4.77 The housing targets for the Borough are based on achieving the overall requirements of the SEP (12,460 dwellings) together with the backlog against the requirements of the former BSP (772 dwellings) at April 2006 (see table 3.1). The Council accepts that the backlog must be eliminated by 31 March 2016 in line with SEP Policy H2 (criterion viii). In considering the opportunities for this, paragraphs 3.13 to 3.19 indicate that there are risks to both the achievement of sustainable communities and the overall vision if targets were increased before 2011. The Council also recognises the implications of the lead in times for development following adoption of the both the Core Strategy (with its allocated SDL (Policies CP18-21)) and the subsequent Managing Development Delivery DPD together with the need to deliver mitigation for the TBH SPA (SEP Policy WCBV3). Consequently, the Council considers that the phasing targets in policy CP17 are the most appropriate means of requiring the delivery of the overall target (based upon table 3.1).

4.78 Table 4.2 provides a summary of the elements of housing land supply in line with the phasing requirements of policy CP18. Explanations of each source together with details of the housing trajectory are included in appendix 6. The majority of future residential development will occur in one of the four SDL in policies CP18-21. This concentration reflects the approach of the Core Strategy for a few locations taking a large proportion of all development, in order to protect the existing character of the area.

Table 4.2 – Summary of housing land supply by phasing period.


Supply Source 2006-11 2011-16 2016-21 2021-26 2006-26
Completions (1/4/06- 31/3/08) 1,506 0 0 0 1,506
Hard Commitments (10+ dwellings) 554 80 0 0 634
WDLP sites (including reserve sites but excludes those in an SDL) 332 795 0 0 1,127
Soft Commitments (10+ dwellings) 126 130 0 0 256
Hard commitments (< 10 dwellings) 327 29 0 0 356
Sites to be identified in Major locations 0 275 0 275 550
Sites to be identified in Modest locations 0 175 0 175 350
Sites to be identified in Limited locations 0 50 0 50 100
Arborfield Garrison SDL 0 950 1,250 1,200 3,400
South of the M4 SDL 125 1,150 1,150 75 2,500
South Wokingham SDL 0 900 1,000 600 2,500
North Wokingham SDL 50 800 650 0 1,500
Flexibility -119 -531 -405 -238 -1,292
TOTAL: 2,901 4,804 3,645 2,138 13,487
Requirement 3,000 3,500 3,615 3,115 13,230

4.79 The Managing Development Delivery DPD will identify sites for at least 1,000 dwellings. The initial split between major, modest and limited locations in table 4.2 is based upon the share of completions achieved in these areas in 2001-08 (table 4.3). The SHLAA indicates that potentially there is sufficient land, which could be earmarked for development through these DPD to meet these targets. Allocations within this DPD will be made using the following approach:

  1. The locational and other policies of the Core Strategy (including CP9);
  2. National and regional policy;
  3. The results of the Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment;
  4. The results of the SHLAA;
  5. The provision of necessary infrastructure at an appropriate time;
  6. Delivery of necessary measures to avoid impacts upon Natura 2000 sites;
  7. Any other factors that could affect their delivery. Having regard to these factors, the final distribution of dwellings to be identified in this DPD may therefore not exactly reflect that indicated in the policy.

Table 4.3 – Net dwelling completions (2001-2008) by CP9 classification


CP9 Location Large
sites
Medium sites Small sites Total %
Major 1,055 418 578 2,001 54
Modest 1,044 43 181 1,268 34
Limited 14 80 88 212 6
Countryside 68 13 122 203 6

4.80 The Government's SHLAA Guidance60 (paragraphs 8 and 25) recognises that the recent pattern of development could be relevant in looking at the future strategy. Table 4.3 summarises the information in appendix 3 on the distribution of dwelling completions between 2001 and 2008. Further guidance on the acceptable scale of development by settlement will be provided in the Managing Development Delivery DPD having regard to the approach of this policy, the vision for the borough and the availability and deliverability of housing land.

4.81 The accompanying concept maps (Appendix 7) illustrate where development is likely to be accommodated within the SDL in policies CP18-21. The inclusion of SDL concept maps is consistent with the advice in PPS12 (paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7) concerning strategic sites and also helps demonstrate that land is available and deliverable as required in PPS3 (paragraphs 54 to 57). Policies CP18-21, together with the additional guidance in Appendix 7 provides certainty to the developer/landowner that development will take place and will reduce the time taken until construction starts. This will provide certainty to infrastructure and other service providers to deliver timely improvements to the network, so that the SDL can be delivered as envisaged. To aid the delivery of a sustainable proposal development brief (including a masterplan) will be sought for each SDL, in line with the guidance within the Core Strategy. The inclusion of SDL concept maps will also help the authority in discussions with neighbouring authorities to ensure that cross-boundary issues such as maintaining the distinct identity of separate settlements and transport generation can be resolved at the early stages.

4.82 The Council recognises that unforeseen circumstances may result in delays in the delivery of identified housing sites (including potentially the SDL in policies CP18-21). In order to address this, it is expected that the Managing Development Delivery DPD will identify sites for at least 500 dwellings in reserve allocations for development post 2026 which could be released earlier if there was a need to maintain supply against the broad annual targets of the policy (including the five year land supply requirements). The AMR (in tandem with the process detailed in the Managing Development Delivery DPD) will be used to release reserve housing sites to maintain land supply. The Council anticipates minimal if any development on unidentified sites and consequently such sites have not been included as a source of supply in table 4.2. Any development on unidentified sites will be rigorously assessed against national and local policies (CP1 and CP3) on compatibility with the character of the area and the need for development to be of high quality. If the Council does not have a five year housing land supply61, it will initially consider the scope for extensions to major development locations before assessing ones for modest development locations and finally limited development locations.

Major locations for growth (Strategic Development Locations)


CP18 – Arborfield Garrison Strategic Development Location

Within the area identified at Arborfield Garrison, a sustainable, well designed mixed use development will be delivered including:

  1. Phased delivery of around 3,500 dwellings including affordable homes in accordance with policy CP5;
  2. Employment;
  3. Appropriate retail facilities;
  4. Social and physical infrastructure (including provision of at least two new primary schools and a secondary school, together with children’s centre and youth facilities);
  5. Measures to maintain separation from Arborfield Cross, Barkham Hill and Finchampstead North;
  6. Necessary measures to avoid and mitigate the impact of development upon the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area in line with Policy CP8 to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations and in accordance with Natural England’s latest standards. This will include sufficient Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (subject to monitoring  of the quality and quantity standards);
  7. Improvements to transport capacity along the A327 (to both the M3 and Reading) and routes towards Bracknell and Wokingham (including the extension of Nine Mile Ride to the A327); and
  8. Measures to improve accessibility by non-car transport modes along the A327, B3030, B3349 and B3430 corridors especially on the routes to Bracknell, Reading, Winnersh and Wokingham.

The development will be guided by a Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document produced with the involvement of stakeholders including all interested landowners in the area covered by the Strategic Development Location as defined on the Proposals Map.

A co-ordinated approach to the development of the Strategic Development Location will be required to deliver the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services to meet the needs of the expanded community.

4.83 Without proper consideration of long term planning of the area around the Garrison, there is a risk that unsustainable travel patterns will arise once the MoD vacate the site in 2012. To address this and take account of the opportunities for redeveloping an existing site, the Council has identified the Garrison as an SDL. The authority will negotiate with the landowners a phased programme for the delivery of service and facility improvements, especially education, together with enhanced accessible public transport associated with development.

4.84 The Council’s Employment Land Study (July 2006) indicates that there is scope to increase floorspace within the existing boundaries of the Hogwood Farm Industrial Estate by around 30,800m2. If this is impractical to provide on site, other land within the SDL may need to be identified to accommodate this uplift in employment. At present Arborfield Garrison is a major employment location and it will be necessary to consider any impacts of its closure in the context of the employment situation in the borough as a whole (see policy CP15). Work undertaken by Children’s Services indicates that a long term development of 3,500 dwellings will require at least 2 two form entry primary schools. A secondary school of 1,500 places will be necessary at an early stage in the development. It is important to ensure that improved public transport services are provided to link Arborfield Garrison to Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell as well as adequate highway capacity. The delivery of the site may need to await adequate capacity in the sewage network as highlighted in the SFRA. Further guidance is set out in the concept plan (in appendix 7), which will be amplified in the Development Brief SPD (incorporating a masterplan). The need to maintain the separation of settlements reflects the Core Strategy’s Spatial Issues (paragraph 2.68) and Spatial Vision (paragraphs 3.1 and 3.5). The Study of Gaps and Green Wedges found that it is essential to maintain them and this reflects the Community Strategy and Audit Report.


CP19 – South of the M4 Strategic Development Location

Within the areas identified South of the M4 motorway, a sustainable, well designed mixed use development will be delivered by 2026 including:

  1. Phased delivery of around 2,500 dwellings including affordable homes in accordance with policy CP5;
  2. Appropriate employment;
  3. Appropriate retail facilities;
  4. Social and physical infrastructure (including provision for up to 2 new primary schools and the likely expansion of existing primary provision together with existing children’s centre and youth facilities);
  5. Measures to maintain separation of these settlements from each other and from Green Park Business Park (Reading), settlements within the administrative Borough of Reading, Shinfield (North of M4) and Swallowfield;
  6. Necessary measures to avoid and mitigate the impact of development upon the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area in line with Policy CP8 to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations and in accordance with Natural England’s latest standards. This will include sufficient Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (subject to monitoring  of the quality and quantity standards).;
  7. Improvements to highway capacity along the A327 (on routes to Reading and the M3, including Shinfield eastern relief road) and the A33 (route to Reading);
  8. measures to improve accessibility by non-car transport modes along the A327 and A33 corridors and routes to the stations at Green Park and Winnersh Triangle; and
  9. Provision of a Park and Ride in line with CP10.

The development will be guided by a Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document produced with the involvement of stakeholders including all interested landowners in the area covered by the Strategic Development Location as defined on the Proposals Map.

A co-ordinated approach to the development of the Strategic Development Location will be required to deliver the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services to meet the needs of the expanded community.

4.85 The Council recognises that development at these settlements will have the opportunity to access Reading through improved public transport along the A33 and A327 corridors. It is necessary to ensure that the distinct identity and separation of these settlements is retained to ensure compliance with the Community Strategy and Audit Report. As part of development in this SDL, it is important that space for adequate services should be found within the area for development together with appropriate safeguarding for high quality public transport services to link the area with facilities and services in Reading. The Council will work with the infrastructure and service providers and Reading Borough to ensure the integration of improvements with those along the A33 and A327 corridors.

4.86 Enhanced facilities and services should ideally be concentrated around either existing local centres in Shinfield and Spencers Wood or at a district centre to serve all the communities in the parish. The Borough Retail Study (August 2007) (paragraph 5.2) indicates that the 2,000m2 of additional convenience expenditure likely to be required for Earley could alternatively be provided as part of the new centre for this SDL. As part of development at this location, additional primary education facilities will be required. The additional primary education requirements will include:

  1. Expansion of some of the existing primary education facilities; and
  2. Two further two form entry primary schools, with the potential to expand to three form entry. Appendix 7 includes the concept plan for the SDL, which will be amplified in a Development Brief SPD (incorporating a masterplan).

4.87 As paragraph 2.78 recognises, there is an unimplemented permission for around 19,000m2 of employment floorspace in Shinfield. The Edmployment Land Study indicates that there is potential to increase the floorspace at Wellington Industrial Estate, Spencers Wood by almost 1,900m2. The implementation of this unimplemented permission or the Science Park under policy CP17 would meet the employment needs for this SDL. The need to maintain the separation of settlements reflects the Core Strategy's Spatial Issues (paragraph 2.68) and Spatial Vision (paragraphs 3.1 and 3.5). The Study of Gaps and Green Wedges found that it is essential to maintain them and this reflects the Community Strategy and Audit Report.


CP20 – North Wokingham Strategic Development Location

Within the area identified at North Wokingham, a sustainable, well designed mixed use development will be delivered by 2026 including:

  1. Phased delivery of around 1,500 dwellings including affordable homes in accordance with policy CP5;
  2. Appropriate retail facilities;
  3. Appropriate employment located west of Twyford Road, north of Matthewsgreen Farm and east of Toutley Industrial Estate;
  4. Social and physical infrastructure (including provision for one new primary school if required);
  5. Measures to maintain separation from Binfield/Bracknell and Winnersh;
  6. Necessary measures to avoid and mitigate the impact of development upon the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area in line with Policy CP8 to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations and in accordance with Natural England’s latest standards. This will include sufficient Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (subject to monitoring  of the quality and quantity standards).;
  7. Improvements to transport capacity along the A321 and A329 including the provision of a new route from the A329 (near the M4 over-bridge) to the vicinity of the Coppid Beech roundabout;
  8. Measures to improve accessibility by non-car transport modes along the A321 and A329 corridors; and
  9. Measures to improve access by non-car modes to Wokingham town centre (including the station interchange).

The development will be guided by a Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document produced with the involvement of stakeholders including all interested landowners in the area covered by the Strategic Development Location as defined on the Proposals Map.

A co-ordinated approach to the development of the Strategic Development Location will be required to deliver the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services to meet the needs of the expanded community.

4.88 Development around Wokingham will help support the rejuvenation of the town through increasing its catchment population and could remove traffic from the centre leading to an improved environment. It is therefore important that development north of the town is accessed from a distributor road through the SDL to connect satisfactorily into the strategic transport network (paragraph 4.56) to both the west and east of the town. Development in north Wokingham will need to be phased in line with the build rates to the south of the town, to ensure sufficient market demand is available. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve links by non-car transport modes to the town centre (including the station interchange) to both support the vitality and viability of the centre and reduce overall private car trips.

4.89 The Council’s Employment Land Study indicates that there is scope to increase floorspace within the existing boundaries of the Toutley Industrial Estate by around 22,100m2. If this uplift does not occur, it may be located on an extension within the part of this SDL north of Matthewsgreen Farm, west of the A321 Twyford Road, and east of Toutley Industrial Estate within land owned by Wokingham Borough Council or elsewhere within alternative employment sites within the Borough providing that the tests of CP15 are met. The extension into the SDL should only be within this area so that housing delivery is not hindered. Cantley Park lies partly within the North Wokingham SDL and is one of the main recreational facilities for the borough. There may be opportunities as part of the proposals for the SDL to expand and enhance these facilities.

4.90 In order to ensure the sustainability of development at North Wokingham, it will be necessary to ensure adequate provision of facilities including retail within walking and cycle distance of residents. This could be achieved by upgrading the existing shopping parades at either Beanoak Road or Clifton Road to the standard of a local centre, or the provision of limited facilities within the site. Alternatively, improvements to the Ashridge Road local centre could be included. If upgrading any of these existing parades or the local centre is proposed, it is important to ensure safe pedestrian, cycle and mobility aid access is provided to the local facilities as well as to Wokingham town centre. Proposals within the SDL will need to demonstrate that they do not prejudice the achievement of a sustainable solution to development, particularly regarding development in Wokingham town centre. Within the SDL, it is likely that 1 two form entry primary school will be required. Further guidance is set out in the concept plan (in appendix 7), which will be amplified in the Development Brief SPD (incorporating a masterplan).

4.91 The need to maintain separation of Wokingham from Binfield/Bracknell and Winnersh reflects the Core Strategy’s Spatial Issues (paragraph 2.68) and Spatial Vision (paragraphs 3.1 and 3.5) together with the adopted Bracknell Forest Core Strategy (policies CS4 and CS9 together with paragraph 123). The maintenance of the separation of Wokingham from the other settlements reflects the approach of the Core Strategy’s Spatial Issues and Spatial Vision. The study of Gaps and Green Wedges in the borough has found that it is essential to maintain them and this reflects the Community Strategy and  Audit Report.


CP21 – South Wokingham Strategic Development Location

Within the area identified at south Wokingham, a sustainable, well designed mixed use development will be delivered by 2026 including:

  1. Phased delivery of around 2,500 dwellings including affordable in accordance with policy CP5;
  2. Appropriate retail facilities;
  3. Social and physical infrastructure (including provision for two new primary schools);
  4. Measures to maintain separation from Binfield/Bracknell, Crowthorne/Pinewood (Crowthorne) and Finchampstead North;
  5. Measures to protect and enhance pedestrian (including using mobility aids) access to the countryside from Wokingham town centre;
  6. Necessary measures to avoid and mitigate the impact of development upon the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area in line with Policy CP8 to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations and in accordance with Natural England’s latest standards. This will include sufficient Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (subject to monitoring  of the quality and quantity standards).;
  7. Improvements to transport capacity along the A321 and A329 including the provision of south Wokingham relief road from the vicinity of the Coppid Beech roundabout to the Finchampstead Road;
  8. Measures to improve accessibility by non-car transport modes along the A321 and A329 corridors; and
  9. Measures to improve access by non-car modes to Wokingham town centre (including the station interchange).

The development will be guided by a Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document produced with the involvement of stakeholders including all interested landowners in the area covered by the Strategic Development Location as defined on the Proposals Map.

A co-ordinated approach to the development of the Strategic Development Location will be required to deliver the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services to meet the needs of the expanded community.

4.92 Development around Wokingham will help support the rejuvenation of the town through increasing its catchment population and could remove traffic from the centre leading to an improved environment. It is therefore important that development south-east of the town is accessed from a distributor road through the SDL to connect into the A329 east of the town and the A321 to the south. In order for this road to function effectively, it will be necessary to resolve the height restrictions at the railway bridges on the A321 Finchampstead Road. Development in south Wokingham will need to be phased in line with the build rates to the north of the town, to ensure sufficient market demand is available. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve links by non-car transport modes to the town centre (including the station  interchange) to both support the vitality and viability of the centre and reduce overall private car trips. The Council is aware that transport solutions for development at the south Wokingham SDL may impact upon land within Bracknell Forest Borough and therefore is working with Bracknell Forest Borough Council to ensure cross-boundary issues associated with development at the south Wokingham SDL are resolved.

4.93 The boundaries of the development shown in the concept plan (appendix 7) have had regard to the landscape features, topography and the potential pressure for further development south of the town. Development further south and east of this location would encroach into the gaps separating Wokingham from Binfield/Bracknell, Finchampstead North and Pinewood (Crowthorne) contrary to the Core Strategy’s Spatial Issues (paragraph 2.68) and Spatial Vision (paragraphs 3.1 and 3.5). The former and latter gaps also accord with the adopted Bracknell Forest Core Strategy (policies CS4 and CS9 together with paragraph 123). The study of Gaps and Green Wedges found that it is essential to maintain them and this reflects the Community Strategy and Audit Report.

4.94 In order to ensure the sustainability of development at south Wokingham, it will be necessary to ensure adequate provision of facilities including retail. This could be achieved by upgrading the existing shopping parade at Rances Lane to the standard of a local centre, or the provision of limited facilities within the site. If upgrading Rances Lane is proposed, it is important to ensure safe pedestrian, cycle and mobility aid access is provided to the local facilities (e.g. Rances Lane) as well as to Wokingham town centre. Proposals within the SDL will need to demonstrate that they do not prejudice the achievement of a sustainable solution to development, particularly regarding development in Wokingham town centre. Within the SDL, 2 two form entry primary schools will be required. Further guidance is set out in the concept plan (in appendix 7), which will be amplified in the Development Brief SPD (incorporating a master plan).

 



41The Department for Trade and Industry definition of a zero carbon development is one that achieves zero net carbon emissions from energy use on site, on an annual basis.

42This reflects the advice of the Department of Health and National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), available at http://www.nice.org.uk/newsevents/infocus/Newguideforlocalauthorities.jsp

43Application Nos. F/2004/0977 (96-98 Grazeley Rd, Three Mile Cross), O/2003/0646 (Land adjacent to Lord Harris Court, Mayfields, Sindlesham) & F/2006/7037 (4 St. Catherine's Close, Sindlesham).

44See figure 7.37 of the Berkshire HMA. The figures are a minimum of 400 units and a maximum of 550 units per annum in comparison to the SEP requirement.

45Reflecting the approach applied in settlements of 3,000 or fewer population within the Wokingham District local Plan.

46PPS3, paragraph 29 indicates that the national indicative minimum threshold for requiring affordable units is 15 dwellings.

47Such as the operation of the Park & Ride at Loddon Bridge roundabout on A329.

48Available at http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/environment/countryside/biodiversity/biodiversity-action-plan

49See www.tverc.org

50See paragraphs 4.7.19 and 10A(ii)(b) of the Assessor's Report on the Thames Basin Heaths Delivery Plan, published 19 Feb 2007. The Assessor's Report is available at http://www.eipsoutheast.co.uk/downloads/documents/20070220094714.doc

51Liley, D, Jackson, D. & Underhill-Day, J. (2005). Visitor Access Patterns on the Thames Basin Heaths. English Nature Research Report. English Nature, Peterborough.

52Available at http://www.southeastra.gov.uk/documents/sustainability/thames_basin_heaths/delivery_framework_march2009.pdf

53See paragraph 4.5.8 of the Assessor's Report.

54WDLP Policy WOS2, available at www.wokingham.gov.uk/localplan. As Arborfield Garrison has no settlement boundary, the Development Limit will reflect the SDL.

55See SEP paragraphs 8.46-8.47, 8.52 (including tables 2 & 3), paragraphs 21.21 & 21.22

56Measures to be developed to provide alternatives for north-south movement across theriver with Reading Borough, South Oxfordshire District and Oxfordshire County

57Funding only in place for route east from Maidenhead, however the route from Maidenhead to Reading was safeguarded with effect from 29 April 2009 - see http://www.crossrail.co.uk/construction/safeguarding/maidenhead-to-reading

58Information derived from CACI Balance of Trade Report for Wokingham District

59Convenience shopping includes food, drink, tobacco, confectionary and newspapers. Comparison is other products including clothing, electrical goods and hardware.

60Available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/archived/publications/planningandbuilding/landavailabilityassessment

61Having regard to the advice in PPS3 (paragraphs 68-73) and National Indicator 159 (available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/735143.pdf). With respect to the latter, this means whether a five year supply is available at the 1st April both preceding and subsequent to the date of determination i.e. for an application determined in June 2010, this would included assessments of 5 year housing land supplies at both 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2011.


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