The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has tonight voted to formally agree the Borough Local Plan, a key planning document guiding and supporting sustainable growth, regeneration and investment until 2033.
The Borough Local Plan provides the vision for the borough’s future development, including setting out how many new homes are needed, how much space for jobs is required, the best locations for new development, and where development cannot happen to protect valued natural and built historic heritage.
This final document has been shaped over a decade through a series of public consultations and includes the changes required by independent Planning Inspector Mrs Louise Phillips to make it sound.
Full Council’s decision to adopt the Borough Local Plan means it has full weight in deciding planning applications, complementing existing planning documents such as the neighbourhood plans, as well as other council work, plans and decisions.
The plan makes provision to deliver at least 14,240 homes to meet projected housing need, as required by Government, aiming to provide for the right amount of high-quality new housing in the right places, including affordable housing, family housing and accessible housing for those with limited mobility.
It also seeks to deliver space for employment, retail and other uses, balancing the need for growth in a constrained, high-quality environment with the requirement to protect and enhance the borough’s highly valued assets, character and identity.
The plan will ensure that new housing and other development is well designed and supported by suitable infrastructure, including the roads, schools, leisure, parks, open spaces and community facilities we need, as well as saving spaces for nature.
While a fraction of green belt development is needed in sustainable locations in order to meet the needs of a fast-growing borough, this still protects 82% of the borough as green belt, with just 1% released for sustainable development.
Councillor David Coppinger, cabinet member for planning, environmental services and Maidenhead, said: “Having a new sound and adopted Local Plan put us in a strong position to meet, in a sustainable way, our local housing and employment needs, to capture investment and regeneration opportunities, to guard against unsupported speculative development and protect our valued natural and built historic heritage.
“This plan is vital in delivering the council’s future place-making and climate change ambitions, meeting the growing needs and aspirations of the borough by guiding investment, regeneration, jobs and the right mix of homes in the best locations, including new family homes and affordable housing – all supported by required infrastructure improvements.
“Its adoption means it has full weight in deciding any planning applications. In bringing forward the largest housing sites, there will also be further engagement with the community through the development of Stakeholder Masterplan Documents, which once finalised will be a material consideration in deciding any subsequent planning applications submitted.
“I would like to thank the thousands of people who have taken part in the public consultations, as well as the council officers and councillors, for their time and consideration in helping to shape this important document.”
An FAQ on the Borough Local Plan is available on the council website at www.rbwm.gov.uk/home/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/emerging-plans-and-policies/draft-borough-local-plan/examination-local-plan