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Reading adopts local plan and zero carbon targets for new homes

Words: Huw Morris
Reading / iStock: 489607006

Reading Borough Council’s local plan has been formally adopted and will introduce zero carbon targets for all new homes.

The blueprint, which covers 2019 to 2036, had been backed by a planning inspector last month.

Under the plan, the target for new homes has risen to 689 a year to a total over the plan period of 15,847. This compares to 671 homes a year under council proposals submitted in March 2018.

The plan requires affordable housing contributions from all housing developments. This is despite the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stating small sites should not face demands for such contributions either on site or in kind. Reading had successfully argued that the shortage of affordable homes and the high cost of market housing justified a departure from the NPPF.

Developments of more than ten homes must meet zero carbon standards, following the council’s climate emergency declaration earlier this year. New build housing will be accessible and adaptable as defined in the Building Regulations, while developments with 20 or more homes must provide 5 per cent wheelchair user housing.

Other measures include the highest level of water efficiency set out in the Building Regulations for new homes and requirements to increase the number electric vehicle charging points in the town. The plan also aims to protect important historic sites such as Caversham Park, the Abbey Quarter and Reading Prison from inappropriate development.

Image credit | iStock