Building homes and protecting greenfields


         Many constituents have written to me with concerns over the government’s proposed changes to planning policy. I have raised these with the Minister. He assures me the aim is to allow more local decision making. Councils will have the power to protect areas from development where they judge that right, by stating so in the local plan.

        I have also talked to Wokingham and West Berkshire Councillors about this. I have pointed out that they can and should use the local plan to protect what needs protecting. In the case of Wokingham the Council has identified sites for more than 10,000 new houses, preferring to concentrate development on four core strategy areas. This makes it even more important to protect the rest with suitable designations in the plan.

            Wokingham is more than doing its bit for extra housebuilding with the identified sites. The Council has a local plan, and can take advantage of the changes to policy to strengthen the protection of green areas they wish to keep.


  1. Pete Chown
    October 14, 2011

    ‘He assures me the aim is to allow more local decision making. Councils will have the power to protect areas from development where they judge that right, by stating so in the local plan.’

    So could a council theoretically designate its entire area as protected from development? I’m not saying they should, I’m just curious to know how much localism is going to be allowed in practice.

    There does seem to be an assumption that we will have substantial immigration and so substantial new development will be needed. It’s a difficult one: the UK is already a densely populated country, but a modern economy probably needs the flexibility to import certain skills too.

    I still think, though, that we’re in danger of tackling this problem in the wrong way. Substantial numbers of people emigrate each year, so moderate restrictions on immigration could result in a falling population. That could make up for the changes in family life which are also increasing pressure on our housing stock. We could have affordable housing and keep our countryside.

    Reply If the Council’s rea was mainly green belt or ANOB or high grade farmland etc.A case can be made through the local plan process

  2. Derek Weston
    October 14, 2011

    Much waffle has been propagated about localism as opposed to centralism. The localism in Wokingham district has all the Hallmarks of a local centralism where vested interests prevail.Let us keep to the Wokingham District plan without variation created by local Builders and their friends in local ‘High Places’ I am frequently suspicious of ‘holier than thou sentiments by politicians’

  3. Mike Collins
    October 14, 2011

    Of course Wokingham is doing it’s bit towards the building of new properties etc. Is this based upon having the entire build in Arborfield at the District Councils disposal and then fleesing the MoD budget to build a modern secondary school for the inhabitants. Surely this should be for the investers in the site not the MoD budget. Be grateful for what you are given Wokingham and address this accordingly.

  4. Atypical
    October 14, 2011

    This is all very well however, in Cumbria we have ‘dyed in the wool’ labour councils that cannot see common sense for looking into the bottom of pint glasses. Altering the planning permission rules will mean that in this county the rate of change re planning will be accelerated providing enough ground can be found that is not already occupied by those bloody awful windfarms. Energy coast? The NIMBYs of the south east must be grateful that the most beautiful county in this country is taking the strain of all things energy from windfarms to yet another nuclear dump. No wonder the councillors in this county can’t sit straight, their back pockets must be bulging, no offence Mr. Reynard

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