A "radical" new plan for all developments in Reading is set to be formally adopted next week.

The Local Plan (2019-2036) is set to be adopted on Monday (November 4) but what is a local plan, what is significant about this one and how will it affect the town?

The town’s new plan will decide how Reading is developed over the next 17 years, dictating how homes can be built in the future and providing a blueprint for important developments.

Reading's Local Plan includes a requirement that all major home developments are developed to zero carbon standards and all developments with more than 20 homes include accessible accommodation.

The planning blueprint was approved by a planning inspector last month (September).

Once adopted, with full council set to approve the blueprint on Monday (November 4), the Local Plan will be the main consideration in determining planning applications.

It will replace three current development plan documents (Core Strategy, Reading Central Area Action Plan and Sites and Detailed Policies Document).

Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, has called it “Reading’s most radical Local Plan ever with a major emphasis on tackling the climate emergency locally and the shortage of affordable housing.”

How will the changes impact on the town?

- Tackling the climate emergency

All major new build homes will have to be developed to zero carbon standards, which is important given the council’s climate emergency declaration earlier this year.

The plan also requires the highest level of water efficiency set out in the Building Regulations for new homes and there are new requirements to increase the number electric vehicle charging points in the town.

- Accessible homes

The Local Plan requires that new build housing is accessible and adaptable as defined in the Building Regulations.

Developments with 20 or more homes will have to provide 5 per cent wheelchair user housing.

This means a development of 40 flats would have two wheelchair accessible homes.

- Win on affordable housing requirements

The planning inspector accepted that all sizes of housing site must include affordable housing contribution, whether actual homes or a financial contribution.

This is despite national policy seeking to exempt developments with less than 10 homes.

RBC – along with West Berkshire Council – challenged this policy in the high courts and won but still had to justify to the planning inspector why it should be an exception to national policy.

- Important historic sites get extra protection

The plan will help to protect important sites such as Caversham Park, The Abbey Quarter and Reading Prison from inappropriate development, informing recommendations to the council’s Planning Applications committee.Cllr Page said the plan “places Reading’s rich heritage at the heart of decision-making”.