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Planning sustainable and affordable neighbourhoods

Bracknell Forest Council’s Executive has been asked to approve a borough-wide consultation on the updated Local Plan. The plan will create affordable, sustainable and well supported neighbourhoods over the next 16 years.

Updates have been made to the document after Government changes in planning law and housing requirements for Bracknell Forest and incorporates residents’ feedback following a public consultation in 2018.

The Executive will review the consultation proposal on Tuesday, 24 September.

The plan includes the possibility of creating a new 4,000 home neighbourhood in Jealott’s Hill – which would be supported by 3 primary schools, a secondary school, employment opportunities, recreational space, allotments, a shopping area, community hub, sports ground and pavilion and a healthcare facility. Some of the homes would be built in this plan period and the rest beyond 2036.

Around 1,400 homes on the site would be affordable as the local plan sets out that at least 35% of all new homes should be designated as affordable housing.

This is the first time that the council has put forward Jealott’s Hill as a possible new and sustainable neighbourhood. The move comes after the council was approached by Syngenta, which currently owns all the land in the proposal area.

Due to technological changes in the way Syngenta carries out its work, large scale trials are no longer required on the site, meaning it could be transformed in to a state-of-the-art new neighbourhood. Syngenta would still retain a key presence on the site, further developing its globally recognised and nationally significant research, and providing a range of local employment opportunities.

Other changes in the plan, which the public would be consulted upon pending the Executive’s approval, are the removal of two allocations at Bog Lane and Winkfield Row. This follows comments made by residents and the availability of more sustainable sites.

The neighbourhood at Beaufort Park in Nine Mile Ride is proposed to be reduced to 226 homes, from 570, and the land at Hewlett Packard in Cain Road has been discounted due to the need to retain it as an employment opportunity.

The plan also increases the percentage of new homes that should be designated as affordable from 25% to 35%. This will help to reduce the number of people on the borough’s housing register, enabling them to live in affordable and sustainable neighbourhoods.

Cllr Chris Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, said:

“The Executive will discuss proposals to consult our residents on the revised and updated draft Bracknell Forest Local Plan when it meets next week.

“This is a really important plan as it sets out the council’s approach to where new neighbourhoods can be created over the next 16 years based on land supply, residents’ feedback and many other factors.

“This plan helps reassert the council’s plan led approach and has enabled us to update and refresh all of the planning policies that we apply. It was good to note councillors’ unanimous support for this approach when we debated this at the council meeting on 11 September.

“There are some significant changes, including the real possibility of creating a new all-encompassing neighbourhood at Jealott’s Hill, so it’s important that we capture feedback on the plans from our residents so that it shapes the borough’s physical future.”