The Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came into play in March and Mike Newton, director of Boyer Planning South, played down previous fears the new regulations compromised Green Belt land.
Referring to discussions between Government and environmental and historical groups, before the final framework was completed, Mr Newton said: "The main concern was that the Government's plans for economic growth would be at the expense of the country's environmental and heritage assets especially the Green Belt.
"The protection of the Green Belt hasn't hugely changed from the previous policy, and although natural, environmental and heritage assets retain much of their protection, it's clear that the Government is committed to the planning system providing support to economic growth. There's a high demand for affordable housing, especially in the east and south east of England."
In Windsor and Maidenhead, the Royal Borough has been pressing ahead to put their borough plan into action and they are now working with parish councils to come up with a neighbourhood plan.
Mr Newton added: "The NPPF encourages and requires positive engagement between all parties in the planning process. Opportunities abound in the new Framework for landowners, developers and local communities alike, but only if all groups understand how to access them. The key to achieving Neighbourhood Plans is for all parties to appreciate the benefit of engaging with each other.
"There's little point in a local community preparing a plan which results in a site's development not being commercial viable. But developers also need to engage with local communities, and create developments that have local distinctiveness and which local people will embrace as part of their community."
Boyer Planning is part of the Romans Group and is one of the country's top 25 town planning consultancies.
For more information visit www.boyerplanning.co.uk or call Boyer Planning South on 01344 753220.