A new 'most radical ever' plan for how Reading is developed in the future has been formally adopted.

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

The 2019-2036 planning blueprint was adopted by Reading Borough Council (RBC) last night with backing from all but four councillors.

READ MORE: The Pangbourne Cheese Shop shortlisted for Guild of Fine Food's Shop of the Year award

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage, said the “strengthened” policy gives councillors powers to be bolder in challenging developers.

She added: “I am thrilled about it.”

The Local Plan, which  will now be the main consideration in determining planning applications, was backed by a planning inspector last month.

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

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport said: “This is one of the most radical plans in the south east and the other Berkshire authorities have something to learn from it.”

The plan was rejected by Green Party councillors who said it does not do enough to protect green spaces or tackle climate change, attacking loss of green space in Palmer Park.

READ MORE: The eleven important buildings with local protection in Reading

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.

Cllr Page said the real challenge, however, is getting funding to improve insulation and energy efficiency in existing houses.

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.

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.

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.