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Planning and Development (Reading)

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

The Petition of people from the greater Reading area,

Declares that the panel looking at the South East Plan were wrong to recommend development of 7500 houses north of the M4 at Reading; this area is in a functional floodplain; the Environment Agency have said that building in this area could result in floods in central Reading; the petitioners wish to see Kennet floodplain protected in line with existing planning policies.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Minister for Planning to delete Kennet Meadow as a development area from the Regional Plan.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.,—[Presented by Martin Salter, Official Report, 2 April 2008; Vol. 474, c. 890 .] [P000169]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Secretary of State acknowledges the concerns of the petitioners regarding the recommendations of the panel report into the south east plan in relation to a special development area south of Reading, referred to locally as Kennet Meadow.

As the process of producing the south east plan is bound by regulation and propriety guidance, which seeks to put all interested parties on an even footing, I am unable to discuss the merits of the panel’s report, or take any representations or comments on board at this stage. These propriety matters apply in particular to any comments related to particular localities or development proposals.

The position in respect of the south east plan is that Government are currently considering its response to the recommendations in the panel report. The next stage in the process is the publication, for public consultation, of the Government’s own proposed changes to the draft strategy. This will provide an opportunity for interested parties to make further representations. We are aiming to publish the proposed changes in the summer.