MORE affordable houses for individuals and a plea to build more family homes are among top priorities for a masterplan that will shape future development in the town for years to come.

Reading Borough Council is currently in the process of conducting a partial update of its Local Plan which was adopted in 2019.

But now the Local Plan is being updated to tweak policies and reflect changes for the lifetime of the plan until 2036.

The Local Plan is due to undergo public consultation this winter allowing you to give your views on the future of developments in Reading.

Micky Leng lead councillor for planning and assets, has argued policy changes will push for an increase in family-sized homes, and the amount of affordable homes for families and individuals.

The council is already increasing the amount of family-sized homes in its planned developments, examples include 21 three and four-bedroom homes in Amethyst Lane and 17 three and four-bedroom homes in Dwyer Road among other proposals.

READ MORE: More than 300 council homes in progress and set to be built in Reading

But the Labour administration is also seeking to encourage developers to build more family-sized homes as well.

According to proposals in the Local Plan update, the council wants to see five, 10 and 15 per cent of town centre developments have three bedrooms, with higher amounts in outer areas such as Tilehurst and Caversham.

Cllr Leng said: “Outside the central core, we’re looking to increase the amount of family housing needed to 67 per cent, we’re really upping the baseline on it.”

Reading Chronicle: Councillor Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley), lead councillor for planning and assets on Reading Borough Council. Credit: @LengMickyCouncillor Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley), lead councillor for planning and assets on Reading Borough Council. Credit: @LengMicky

Currently, the Local Plan 2019 states that 50 per cent of developments outside central Reading should be three or more-bed homes.

The draft local plan update states that the number of three or more bed homes should be maximised.

However, it has been acknowledged that developments in central Reading will likely contain one and two bed homes instead.

The draft Local Plan update states: “Whilst delivering homes at high density in the town centre is the only way that Reading can get close to meeting needs within its boundaries, this causes other issues.

“In particular it is very difficult to secure family-sized homes of three or more bedrooms in the town centre.

“Over the period of the existing plan, housing delivery has been dominated by one and two-bedroom homes.

“This places greater importance on delivery of family-sized dwellings wherever they can be achieved, but particularly outside the town centre.”

The Local Plan partial update would also control the mix of affordable housing available.

The council already has a policy that 30 per cent of homes in developments of 10 or more should be affordable.

The partial update states that 68 per cent should be affordable rentals, and the remaining 32 per cent should be divided between first homes and shared-ownership properties.

Additionally, if no housing association offers to manage affordable homes in new developments, the council’s housing department should automatically be considered as an option to be the landlord of the future occupants.

The policies to increase affordable and family housing are just two of the important policy areas covered in the Local Plan partial update, which is due for consultation.

The consultation has 83 questions on a whole range of issues.

For example, question 81 asks whether people agree with the council’s policy on the redevelopment of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, which states that the council wants the hospital to stay in borough.

Furthermore, if the hospital is relocated, its Craven Road site should be retained as a place to meet healthcare needs.

The consultation has not been published yet.

Once it is live, you will be able to provide feedback by using the Consult Reading website, emailing or in a letter.

The deadline for responses is by 5pm on January, 31, 2024.