Reading has witnessed substantial changes in recent years, with economic growth, a thriving centre and associated development pressures. These matters need to be balanced against the considerable assets that need preservation, such as the historic environment and quality green spaces. Planning in Reading aims to balance these matters, and help to achieve the aims of the Sustainable Community Strategy.

Planning in Reading can be broken down into five areas:
• Planning policy;
• Development management;
• Planning enforcement;
• Conservation; and
• Trees and hedges.

Planning Policy

Planning policy involves the production of documents that guide decisions on planning applications. This takes places at the national level (with Government producing Planning Policy Statements – see and at local level, through the Local Development Framework.

The Local Development Framework (LDF) is intrinsically linked to the Sustainable Community Strategy. It contains those aspects of the Strategy that have a geographical emphasis, and which influence the way land is developed. The LDF contains a series of documents that, together, set out the planning strategy for the area.

Reading has been making good progress with the production of its LDF. It has adopted a Core Strategy in 2008, which sets out the overall strategy for Reading, and a Reading Central Area Action Plan in 2009, which is the planning framework for the substantial change which will be happening in central Reading. Work is underway on producing more detailed policies to guide planning applications, and on identifying sites for development and protection across the Borough.

As well as the documents outlined above, the LDF also includes a number of other documents that govern procedure, report on progress, and deal with specific sites and issues. For more detailed information, please see

Development Management

Generally, ‘development management’ refers to the process of handling planning applications. Reading deals with a vast range of planning applications, from minor changes to existing houses to major mixed-use developments. Decisions on these applications are guided by the relevant policy (see above) and by other considerations.

A great deal of information on the planning application process is on the national Planning Portal website (, including information on what needs planning permission, what kind of permission is needed and how to make a planning application online. Further information is also on the Council’s website. To view details of current or recent planning applications online, please see Public Access for Planning.

Planning Enforcement

Planning enforcement involves investigating alleged breaches of planning control, and, if necessary, taking action. This is key to the integrity of the planning system, and a successful enforcement function helps to sustain public confidence in the service. More information on planning enforcement is on the Council’s website.


Reading is home to a wealth of valuable historic assets, testament to the central role of the Borough in events such as the Reformation and the English Civil war. These historic assets are a central part of our cultural heritage and sense of identity. The key conservation designations within the planning system are Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings. Each has their own regime of consents. For more information, please follow the links.

Trees and Hedges

Planning also deals with important trees, through its Tree Preservation Order function, and high hedges, as well as high hedges. Please see the Council’s website for more information.

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