10 things you need to know

Ten of the biggest stories from the past week, including news that councils could be given the flexibility to introduce a test to ensure that new discounted Starter Homes are made available to local first-time buyers.

New homes: government pushing Starter Homes policy
New homes: government pushing Starter Homes policy

Speaking last week during the committee stage of the Housing and Planning Bill, housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said "there may be exceptional circumstances where a local connection test could be warranted" for Starter Homes – sold at 20 per cent below the market price to first-time buyers under the age of 40. More.

Lewis has also said that powers to allow the secretary of state to intervene to force councils to meet new obligations to assist in the delivery of new discounted homes for first-time buyers will be used only in "limited circumstances". More.

Councils keen to test ways to speed up local plan-making, encourage the delivery of neighbourhood plans or devolve decision-making are being offered the chance to bid for funding of up to £60,000 each. More.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd has refused permission for a 27-turbine onshore wind farm in Mid Wales, against a planning inspector's recommendation of approval. More.

The government has confirmed that it aims to ensure that the value of land should reflect planning requirements, in response to a query over a north London site. More.

Communities secretary Greg Clark has refused permission for a 32.5 hectare solar park in Surrey, ruling that the benefits of the scheme do not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt. More.

The number of housebuilding projects across England getting under way dropped slightly in the year to 30 September 2015, but completions are up by 17%, official figures have revealed. More.

An argument centred around the definition of the word 'tree', which could have implications for councils' tree protection powers, has moved to the Court of Appeal. More.

The Court of Appeal has upheld a planning inspector's approval of a single 80-metre-high wind turbine close to the Norfolk Broads. More.

European cities which have charged planning with engaging the market and providing responses to market failures have seen 'startling' results in terms of development quality, according to a report published this week. More.


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