In an earlier blog article, ‘Thames Valley – Local Plan Updates, Where Are We?’, published in July 2021, Blandy & Blandy reviewed the importance of up to date Local Plans, and the progress of various local planning authorities within the Thames Valley, in securing updated plans. Kayleigh Chapman, solicitor in the planning & environmental law team, takes a look whether any further progress has been made since.

Wokingham Borough Council

In light of the extension to the AWE Burghfield emergency planning zone the council had to go back to the drawing board as the proposed Grazeley Garden Town of around 15,000 homes was no longer a sustainable option for Wokingham Borough Council and other neighbouring local planning authorities. The council, therefore, needed to consider how to achieve the required housing supply this development going ahead.

On November 22, 2021 the council opened its consultation on a revised growth strategy for its new Local Plan.

The revised growth strategy follows ‘the same principles as the existing local plan, which concentrated development in four major new communities at Shinfield Parish, Arborfield Garrison and North and South Wokingham alongside significant investment in infrastructure’.

The consultation on the revised growth strategy is open until January 24, 2022.

The July 2021 Local Development Scheme anticipates adoption of the Local Plan Update by the end of 2023.

West Berkshire Council

On July 20, 2021 the Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A press release on the council’s website, dated August 19, 2021, confirmed that, having sought independent legal advice, it was clear that additional work was required to support the new requirements contained within the NPPF, namely the introduction at Paragraph 22 of the following:

“Where larger scale developments such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns form part of the strategy for the area, policies should be set within a vision that looks further ahead (at least 30 years), to take into account the likely timescale for delivery.”

The council undertook a call for sites for office development between 26 November 2021 and 24 December 2021.

South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council

South Oxfordshire District Council adopted its Local Plan in December 2020. The process was fraught with complications, particularly following local elections in May 2019 when the newly elected council proposed to withdraw the Local Plan from examination. This resulted in intervention from the Secretary of State.

South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council are now preparing a Joint Local Plan to replace both that recently adopted SODC Local Plan and the Vale of White Horse Council’s existing Local Plan. This joint plan would plan for development up to 2041. The joint Local Development Scheme anticipates adoption of the Joint Local Plan in October 2024.

Bracknell Forest Council

The Pre-Submission Local Plan was consulted on between March and May 2021. Bracknell Forest Council’s website confirms that the responses to that consultation are being summarised and that these will be submitted to the Secretary of State along with the final version of the Local Plan for examination in due course.

The Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination on December 20,  2021. In October 2021 Bracknell Forest Council published an updated Local Development Scheme which aims to adopt the new Local Plan in Autumn 2022.

Slough Borough Council

The council continues to progress its Local Plan. A consultation on the ‘proposed release of Green Belt Sites for family housing’ ran from November 5 to December 17, 2021. This consultation looked at ten sites in the Green Belt and their suitability for family housing.

For further information or legal advice, please visit

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