Government policy dictates that new houses must be built. A total of 138 new homes have been allocated to Sonning Common by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to be built between by 2027.

Although a minimum of 138 new homes have been allocated to Sonning Common the Plan is making provision for up to 195 new homes. This is to provide flexibility within the Plan to accommodate additional homes to come from the SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment). It should be emphasised, however, that final additional numbers are unknown.

SODC makes the majority of planning decisions for Sonning Common, in consultation with the parish council and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). Individual residents can influence the process only by commenting on specific planning applications or by participating in public consultation exercises, when held.

However, the Localism Act of 2011 allows residents to have much greater control over shaping developments in their communities, if they choose to create and publish a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP).

NDPs - which have to be fully consulted on and agreed by the local population - provide a legal policy framework for the residential, business and recreational development of an area. They should ensure that development takes place in a constructive and sustainable way to meet local needs.

SCNDP Working Party

In November 2011 Sonning Common Parish Council (SCPC) decided that an NDP Working Party should be established to develop an NDP for the village. The working party was set up in February 2012 - consisting of parish councillors and volunteer residents - to take on the task of developing the plan with support and guidance from professional consultants.

At the outset of the NDP-planning process a total of 14 sites were identified to SODC as having possible development potential. Since then one site has been added and three have been withdrawn by landowners.

The following sites have been short-listed for inclusion in Sonning Common's NDP: 

SON 1 - Old Copse Field - Local Green Space

SON 2 - Bishopswood Middle Field - housing

SON 3 - Memorial Hall Field - recreation and sports' hall

SON 5 - Kennylands Paddock - housing

SON 6 (part) - Kennylands Road In-fill - housing

SON 7/7a - Hagpits House/Hagpits Orchard - housing (reserve site)

SON 8 - Kennylands Gymnastics - as it exists now (reserve site for four homes)

SON 9 - Lea Meadow - housing

SON 15a - Chiltern Edge Top Field - housing

Next stages

Provided the Sonning Common Neighbourhood Development Plan (SCNDP) is approved by residents at referendum it will become an integral part of the decision-making process on new planning applications in the village. Our NDP will be a powerful tool in shaping future development in Sonning Common.

Barrie Greenwood, chairman of the SCNDP working party, said: "For the plan to be credible and successful it needs the support of the village community. Please participate in the process by attending future public consultation events, completing surveys and by voting in the referendum, when the plan is put to the village."