Arborfield and Barkham are working together to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
The two parishes are facing great changes, with the Arborfield Green garden village being developed on the site of the former Arborfield Garrison and with the new Arborfield Cross Relief Road due to be constructed in the next few years.
With the Borough Council now in the process of developing the Local Plan Update, which will guide the future development of Wokingham Borough up to 2036, this is a very good time to be gathering our opinions and sharing them with the Borough Council.
The plan is being prepared by a Steering Group consisting of Councillors and residents drawn from both parishes. Work completed includes a Residents’ Survey in late 2016, a number of Focus Groups researching various topics including sustainability and greenways, analysis of housing needs and some public drop-in events including the “Shaping Our Future” event held in Autumn 2017. A further event was held in June 2018 to present a draft of the plan which launched the public consultation.
Neighbourhood Plan timetable for the New Year – December 2018 (new)
The Steering group is in discussion with Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) regarding the Submission Plan. The purpose of the discussion is to ensure compliance with national and local planning policies. Some detailed changes to the Neighbourhood Plan are anticipated and it is hoped that amendments can be completed by the end of January.
It had been anticipated that the Plan would go to the WBC Executive in February for approval as a consultation document. However, WBC have reviewed this in the light of local elections in May, and the associated purdah period that starts on 26 March. There is a long lead-time on Executive meetings, and we would need to have the plan and supporting documents ready before Christmas to meet the deadline for the February meeting.
WBC have therefore proposed that the plan be considered by their Executive in June, with consultation in July / August (perhaps lengthened in view of timing), and an Examiner appointed concurrently with the consultation. It would then be possible to furnish the Examiner with all documents shortly after the consultation ends.
It is disappointing that the timetable has become so prolonged, but this is outside the control of the Steering Group.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
NP Steering Group
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