Reading Local Plan for thousands of homes faces delay

The Local Plan determines where homes can built in Reading and rules around affordable housing and sustainability measures which developers should comply with.

It is currently undergoing a partial update as the existing Local Plan is now five years old, as it was approved in November 2019.

Initial update proposals were put to members of the public in a consultation held in December and January this year.

The proposals included sites that building owners had suggested could be turned over to housing.

Suggested sites include five massive offices which owners want to convert into apartments, and replacing the Central Library and Southcote Library sites with homes.

Other proposals included building homes at the Tesco Extra car park in Napier Road, and redevelopment of the Crowne Plaza hotel at the riverside.

Reading Chronicle: The Crowne Plaza hotel in Richfield Avenue, Reading. Credit: Google MapsThe Crowne Plaza hotel in Richfield Avenue, Reading. Credit: Google Maps

Revisions to the Local Plan partial update accounting for the first consultation were meant to go back to public consultation for July to September.

But government planning law changes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) were published in December 2023, and could have implications for Reading.

Therefore, the council’s Labour administration is delaying its second consultation until November, so that changes to the NPPF can be accounted for.

Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley) lead councillor for planning said: “Given the ever-changing picture in terms of national planning policy guidance, it would be absurd for the council to rush to meet a self-imposed deadline on this partial update.

“Reading’s Local Plan will play a hugely significant role in helping the Council, and its residents, to achieve their objectives in the coming years, whether in relation to house building, affordable homes, transport infrastructure and sustainable development.

READ MORE: Reading Local Plan partial update for where thousands of homes could be built across town explained 

“It is in that context, and against the backdrop of changes in national guidance and noises coming from Ministers, that we will now pause to take stock before presenting a full draft of the partial update in November for public consultation, which has fully considered all implications.

“Reading Council is already well-ahead of other local councils, in that it is undertaking a review of its Local Plan earlier than required by law and, unlike many local authorities, it still has an up-to-date plan in place. Very good progress has already been made on the update and, even accounting for this small delay, the Council expects to adopt its updated plan during 2025.

Cllr Leng added that implementation of the plan would be subject to the government planning inspectorate approving it after submission.

The change to the Local Plan process will be discussed by the council’s strategic environment, planning and transport committee in June.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre