Wokingham residents are set to have a greater say on where houses are built in the borough.

The council’s top branch approved the start of a consultation period for the authority's housing plans, which will allow locals to voice their opinions on development in Wokingham.

Council leader Charlotte Haitham Taylor said: “The start of this consultation is about residents having a voice.

“It is your opportunity to have your say about where you would like new homes to be.

“There are other authorities that may sit back and many not choose to do this.

“We are proactive here and we are saying please get involved.

“This is your chance to get your views across.”

A report produced for the council read: “This report seeks approval to undertake public consultation to assist the development of the Local Plan Update, specifically inviting views on the role of different places across the borough and inviting comments on the land that has been promoted by landowners and developers as being available for development.

“Through this engagement, the views of residents and local businesses can be taken into account alongside government requirements and technical evidence when future decisions are made on the preferred strategy for the Local Plan Update.”

The consultation will ask residents for their views on how much development is enough, where the development should go, and where the developments should not go.

The council has come in for criticism in recent months because of the way it has consulted residents on issues such as safety concerns in Market Place, the sacking of lollipop men and women and housing development in the borough.

However at a meeting of the council’s executive, councillor Stuart Munro said: “This time it will be a real consultation.”

The executive member for planning and enforcement continued: “The real purpose of this is to explain why we are doing this and also to understand what there needs are.

“Every household in the borough will receive a package explaining what is being discussed.”

Barkham and Shinfield residents have slammed the council in recent months for approving 'overdevelopment' in their towns.

More than 4,000 Barkham locals signed a petition asking the council to reconsider their approach to housebuilding in the area.

Councillor Anthony Pollock, the member for Shinfield South, told Cllr Munro his residents are “getting very upset” with the scale of development and congestion in the area, and asked the councillor why this was being done.

Councillor Norman Jorgensen also asked why this consultation was taking place when the council already has a local plan to 2026.

Cllr Munro replied: “It is good to do so and also we are required to do so by law.

“We have to constantly review this process or the plan is not considered to be current.”

The new plan will take the council’s housing strategy to 2036.

The report continued: “At this stage we do not know and have not committed to any particular approach to managing development or sites that might be allocated to provide new jobs, new homes or other types of development, with activity focused on gathering the necessary information and views to support a decision at a future time.”

The council asked residents in 2016 for their views on where houses should be built and identified 280 possible sites for housing and employment development.

The consultation is set to run from Monday, November 12 to Friday, February 15.

The full local plan with a list of the 280 sites can be found here https://wokingham.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s28986/Enc.%202%20for%20Local%20Plan%20Update%20LPU%20Towards%20our%20Strategy%20Consultation.pdf