Local Planning Matters: Update for Residents of Kidmore End Parish
Prepared by Kidmore End Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) Steering Group
Purpose and Content
This document has been written to provide important information relevant to Kidmore End Parish regarding the current status of the following:
- South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) Emerging Local Plan
- Planning application to Reading Borough Council for development at Reading Golf Club
- Reading Transport Strategy 2036 and Consultation
- Kidmore End Parish NDP Update
This update is in addition to the minutes of NDP Steering Group and Parish Council meetings which can be found on this website.
Since the country went into lockdown in March it has certainly been a strange few weeks for everyone. It has been heartening to hear so many stories of residents within our parish coming together to support friends and neighbours in our villages and it reminds us that not only do we live in a beautiful part of the world, but that we are extremely fortunate to have such a supportive community around us.
With the focus so rightly on making sure everyone is keeping safe and well, the NDP Steering Group have had to decide whether or not it is appropriate, and indeed possible, to continue with our work to create our NDP, or whether it should be put on hold for the time being. Due to the stage we are at with the plan now, as well as recent events relating to the development of SODC’s emerging Local Plan, a scoping paper for development at Reading Golf Course and the Reading Transport Strategy and Consultation, the group have decided it is right to continue. We would like to provide you with an update on these plans which could affect our parish (with links where possible) as well as the work we are currently doing to move forward with our Kidmore End Parish NDP.
SODC’s Emerging Local Plan
Following a change in leadership in May 2019 at SODC, and debate about the Emerging Local Plan 2034, the resulting delay has led to the Secretary of State writing to the Chief Executive of SODC on 3rd March 2020 to inform him of the government’s expectation that the SODC Local Plan should be progressed through to adoption by December 2020. Following comments and questions from the Inspector on the SODC emerging Local Plan, SODC have now provided its responses, either accepting recommended changes to some elements of the plan or providing the rationale for maintaining existing policies and strategies.
Of particular note to our parish is the conclusion by SODC that housing growth within South Oxfordshire should not be positioned close to the Reading boundary as this would not be of benefit to South Oxfordshire generally, and would exacerbate current issues with infrastructure including roads, schools and healthcare in the Caversham area.
The link to the questions set by the inspector and responses from SODC is below. You can also access the timetable set out for the Local Plan and information about the role of the inspector: http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/local-plan-2034/local-plan-2034-examinatio
Reading Golf Club
Developers Fairfax and Redrow for Reading Golf Club are preparing to submit plans for the development of 275 houses on the Reading Borough side of the Golf Course, butting up to the boundary with Kidmore End Parish. The Reading Local Plan makes provision for between 90 – 130 homes on this site but Reading Borough Council have recently admitted they have a shortfall of houses against their plan. The original plan put forward by the golf club was to build 250 houses. It seems this number has increased. The developers state that provision will be made for a medical centre on the site and that the land on the South Oxfordshire side will be maintained as a country park. The developers have put forward a scoping plan to Reading Borough Council.
One of the main reasons for Kidmore End Parish initiating the NDP process was to protect against large scale development within the parish. To date South Oxfordshire have not indicated that they would approve plans to build on the South Oxfordshire side of the Reading boundary. It is important that we continue to push forward with our NDP to provide evidence that the remaining land on the golf course is not an appropriate site for development.
For information you can visit the Keep Emmer Green (KEG) website: https://www.keepemmergreen.com/golf-club-plans
Reading Transport Strategy Consultation
Reading Borough Council have been drafting their Reading Transport Strategy 2036. For full information see: https://www.reading.gov.uk/transportstrategy
The draft strategy has now been published and the consultation period is from 4th May 2020 to 30th August 2020 with results due to be published on 1st December 2020.
This is a lengthy document, however there are a number of areas which are relevant to South Oxfordshire and our parish. In particular, pages 90, 97, 98, 107 and 111 refer to a new orbital route connecting the A4074 and A4155 with a Park and Ride to the north of Reading, as well as a new river crossing to the east of Reading linking Caversham to the A3290.
Both the KE Parish Council and SODC will be responding to the consultation, however, we urge residents within the parish to submit their comments too via the following link: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/reading-transport-strategy-2036/
Kidmore End Parish NDP Update
As you will see, despite the restrictions placed on us all by the pandemic, plans to develop our local area are continuing. The NDP Steering Group feel that we also need to keep pace and ensure that we are ready to submit our NDP early next year. The current directive from the government is that NDP referendums have to be put on hold until May 2021, but we still have work to do to be ready for this.
In September 2019 we held a public event in Kidmore End School and the Pavilion in Gallowstree Common to present the research and information gathered as part of the call for sites process. The public event also presented the proposal for an allocated site within the village of Kidmore End of 3-4 houses at CFS 8 and asked for feedback via a survey on this and our stated approach to creating a suite of NDP policies.
The information relating to the events can be found here: https://www.kepc.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/KEPCpanelslo.pdf
Since September 2019 we have been working on the detailed policy wording, taking into account the feedback we received in the survey from residents in the parish as well as the expectations set out in SODC’s Core Strategy and Emerging Local Plan. The policies relate to building new homes as well as extensions, rebuilds, the AONB and open spaces. The first draft of the detailed policy wording has been commented on by SODC’s planning team and the Steering Group are now working on incorporating these comments where appropriate.
Once the SODC planning team have had a second review of the wording we will be in a position to share the draft policies with the community. We are making plans, in the event that social distancing continues, to share the information in an interactive way via the parish council website. This will enable us to get the feedback from the community that we want and need in order to ensure that our NDP is representative of the views and requirements stated by the majority of our community.
The Steering Group will ensure that we use all possible means of communication to inform residents of our next community engagement event, which, as described, will be to review and provide feedback on the draft policy wording, whether in person or remotely.
In the meantime, we ask that residents provide feedback to the draft Reading Transport Strategy through the consultation process: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/reading-transport-strategy-2036/
And please also keep an eye out for the Reading Golf Club planning application which will be found on the planning applications page of the Reading Borough Council website: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/welcome.asp