Creating the Neighbourhood Plan
Arborfield and Newland Parish Council and Barkham Parish Council worked together to produce a joint Neighbourhood Plan.
The 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 being constructed.
The plan was 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.
Arborfield and Barkham Parish Councils submitted their proposed Neighbourhood Plan to Wokingham Borough Council in May 2019. The plan sets out a vision and objectives for the future of the area and contains planning policies to guide the development and use of land in Arborfield and Barkham parishes.
In line with legislation, a six-week consultation on the proposed Plan was carried out between 8 July and 19 August 2019. The Borough Council appointed an independent examiner who received copies of all the documentation and representations received and undertook the examination of the plan in September and October 2019.
A ‘Neighbourhood Plan Summary’ can be found in the Documents section.
Approval of the Plan
The Neighbourhood Plan referendum was held on 6th February 2020. Residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Plan. The result was as follows:
YES votes 1164 (94%)
NO votes 72 (6%)
Total votes cast 1,236 (24%)
The Steering Group is delighted that the Plan received such a substantial endorsement from the community and thanks them for their support.
It is anticipated that Wokingham Borough Council will ‘make’ the plan at an Executive Meeting to be held on 26 March 2020. Meanwhile, the Neighbourhood Plan will become part of the statutory development plan for the Borough.
Following a successful referendum, it carries real legal weight. Decision makers are obliged to consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood against the neighbourhood plan.
With the completion and approval of the Plan, its ownership will revert to the two parish councils.