New Local Plan – Land for Development

The site at the corner of Southampton Street and Crown Street

The site at the corner of Southampton Street and Crown Street in 2013

The issues and options paper for the new local plan for Reading has been published for consultation by Reading Borough Council. The consultation was agreed at the strategic environment, planning and transport committee meeting on 24 November 2015. A significant proportion of the document deals with land for development.

The consultation poses questions about specific issues relating to the future development of Reading and states:

We would prefer it if your response addressed the specific questions asked throughout this document (shown in pink boxes).

For example, in Section 4, How and where should development take place?, Question 15 asks:

Please rank the following sources of sites for housing development in order of preference:

1: Town centre development
2: Increasing densities;
3: Vacant brownfield sites and infill development;
4: Conversion of houses to flats;
5: Conversion of offices to residential;
6: Renewal of suburban areas;
7: Redevelopment of employment land;
8: Residential gardens;
9: Development on greenfield sites.

This in depth section of the consultation covers the areas of Reading available for different types of development, for example housing and it includes two lists of sites, Table 4.3 & Table 4.4.

Table 4.3 shows sites that were suggested for development in the preparation of this consultation while stating:

The Council does not necessarily endorse these sites, or any options for these sites at this stage – it is important that there is an opportunity to comment on sites and options for them before any decisions on them are made. Doing so will make sure that the decision whether to include or exclude a site is as well-informed as possible.

Within this list there are no sites in Katesgrove.

Table 4.4 lists sites that were already included for development in the current local plan. Within this list there are four that are in Katesgrove and one that is shared between Abbey and Katesgrove ward.

The existing allocation does not reflect the current situation. The allocation was included at a time when there were plans to replace the Hexagon and South Street with a single arts venue. Replacing the Hexagon remains a Council aspiration, and the Council recently began the process of seeking a delivery partner.

  • The Oracle Extension, Bridge Street and Letcombe Street (B26). This is the area of the Oracle car park, Vue Cinema and John Lewis depot. A statement says:

Proposal has not been actively pursued in recent years, with other applications for smaller extensions to the Oracle having been granted.

Many of the sites in Tables 4.3 and 4.4 are within central Reading (Abbey ward), each site is identified by a code and a plan of the site is at Appendix 4 to the document.

Three consultation workshops are being held around Reading in February. If you would like to attend you should contact the planning team.

There are also two drop-in events in February. These are more informal and you do not need to contact the planning team in advance.

The contact number for queries about the plan is: 0118 9373337

Deadline for responses is Monday 7 March 2016.

Responses to the Consultation can be made by:

Planning Policy Team,
Reading Borough Council Civic Offices,
Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU