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HVS Planning Framework - Update March 2023

The HVS Committee reviewed it’s planning guidelines in May 2021 which were then presented at the 2021 AGM.

These are available at all times on the HVS website and can be viewed here. Similarly all letters relating that HVS has written on planning issues can be viewed via the HVS Planning Letters page.

The Committee welcomes comments and concerns raised by individuals. 

HVS’s planning guidelines make it clear that HVS will not automatically object to all future development proposals. In looking to safeguard and enhance the long term viability and vitality of the village, it would be realistic for HVS to consider that a degree of development is both necessary and inevitable. In such a scenario, the role of HVS, is to identify and assist in maximising any opportunities, whilst mitigating the adverse impact of any such development proposals. HVS believes that this doesn’t mean it is contradicting the original object of the Society to preserve and enhance the character of the Parish of Hurst as a living community, but shows it is always prepared to take decisions that make that a long term reality.
It is important to remember that HVS (which is not a statutory consultee) when making any comments on any planning proposals, strictly adheres to the concept That each individual planning application must be considered on its own merits, and based on material planning considerations.

Often when considering a planning application there are very clear and obvious contraventions of local and or national planning policies which mean any decision to object to the proposals is straightforward. This is equally so when the  benefits from any development are so obvious as to encourage support. It is essential that HVS is always consistent in the views expressed in any submission to The Planning Authority, and also maintains it’s credibility by  responding in terms of material planning considerations so as to be able to formally justify the stance it has taken, sometimes through the Appeal process. 

This position has been made more complex in Wokingham, due to the lack of progress in adopting The Local Plan Update and  a failure to demonstrate a five year housing supply (as required by the Government).  Therefore The Local Planning Authority is required having regard to other factors to exhibit a presumption in favour of development through the so called tilted planning balance.

View HVS Planning Guidelines - updated May 2021

View planning letters written by HVS.

Planning is often a controversial topic, but it affects us all at one time or another, whether we want to extend our home, a neighbouring property wants to extend, or there is a proposed new development which could change the environment where you live.  To access any planning application or appeal you can visit WBC’s planning portal.

Hurst Parish is predominantly agricultural, semi-rural and most people live here because of its character, community and the congeniality of living in an attractive village but close enough to major transport links and towns.

There has been some development over the years and by the end of 2019 we estimated there to be over 900 dwellings, which is an increase of over 125 dwellings over the last 20 years [<217 since 1988], but Hurst has managed to keep its character and maintain the feel of a village; if you compare this to how much neighbouring villages have changed such as Binfield and Charvil, let alone the towns of Wokingham and Woodley, Hurst has done well to retain its identity.  The main reason why Hurst has been protected from major development so far is because back in the 1970’s a ‘Development Limit’, previously known and often referred to as the ‘Village Envelope’, was drawn up and adopted by Wokingham District Council (as it was then) and has continued to be adopted for the time being.

Current Development Limit around Hurst

Any land inside the Development Limit is, within reason and provided it adheres to various planning policies (see below), allowed.   Any land outside the Development Limit, is considered to be countryside and protected by policies, both local and nationally.  

HVS does not comment on every application, that is for the Parish Council to do, but when it is considered necessary, will comment on, object to, or support an application according to the relevant policies at the time.

The Development Limit (DL) is shown delineated and hashed here:

Currently, the main policies that have to be addressed for planning applications are:

The Future of Hurst

In 2017 the White Paper ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ was presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The overall conclusion was that there is a national housing shortage.

As of November 2020 Wokingham Borough Council had more than the required  5 year deliverable housing supply and for the last few years have consistently built over and above the required number demanded by central Government.   In October 2020, central Government put forward a proposal 'Planning for the Future' to change the future of housing and how permissions would be put into zones and the process would be less democratic, taking away much of the decisions about where housing should be built from the local authorities. 

At the same time another proposal was put forward by central Government to change the algorithm calculating how the number of new homes each local council had to build and deliver in the next 15 years.  Under the proposed new algorithm, Wokingham Borough was to have its number increased from approximately 750 new homes a year to over 1600 a year. This increase in numbers would have a disastrous affect on the countryside in Hurst and therefore HVS objected to the proposed change and ran a campaign to ask the residents to write to our local MP, Theresa May, asking her to vote against this proposal, which indeed she did;  You can see her speech in the House of Commons in October 2020 (where she mentions Hurst). This campaign ran concurrently with WBC’s own campaign objecting to the proposed increase in housing numbers.  Currently, the government are looking at this and we await to hear the outcome.   

Currently there are 2 consultations which will affect the future of Hurst:

  • Hurst Neighbourhood Plan. This is an opportunity for the village residents to have a say about what they want for the next 20 years in terms of development, protection of green spaces and community assets, as well as other local issues; Ultimately, the adopted Neighbourhood Plan will be a statutory document.

  • The Wokingham Borough Council Local Plan Update ‘Homes for the Future’ Consultation.  All information on this can be found here.  The Council must have a Local Plan that sets out where developments can and cannot take place; this consultation is to decide what development will be built in the Borough between 2026 and 2036.

If you would like to discuss any planning applications or consultations, please contact

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