Council adopts Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan

Wokingham Borough Council offices shute end

WOKINGHAM borough council has adopted the Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan after a landslide public vote.

Made by parish councils in the area, its policies relating to conservation and affordable housing will be used to determine planning applications until 2036.

The draft began in 2014 and underwent various developments through workshops, surveys, meetings and a number of different objectives and policies, which culminated in a consultation with local residents.

Feedback from these were all used to alter the plan, which was then submitted to the council last May.

After a six-week consultation and an independent assessment, several changes were recommended and implemented, after which the council held a public referendum in February.

People living in Arborfield, Newland and Barkham Parishes voted, showing overwhelming support for the plan with 94% in favour of the policies, which include a focus on respecting the character of the countryside, affordable housing for local key workers, developer engagement with local communities, the conservation of public open spaces and natural assets, and biodiversity net gain.

Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “Neighbourhood planning is an important way for communities to develop a vision for their local area and shape the growth within it.

“While national and local strategic policies have to be followed, the hard work put into the Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan will allow the local community to have more say on what the area will look like now and in years to come. 

“The group should be proud of the plan they have put together, which has been strongly endorsed by local residents.”

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