10 things you need to know

Ten of the biggest news stories from the past week, including news that the communities secretary has made a series of fresh interventions over renewable energy schemes across England.

Solar: green belt scheme refused
Solar: green belt scheme refused

In the first of a string of interventions and decisions over that past week, communities secretary Greg Clark said that he will decide a group of four appeals relating to controversial plans for shale gas exploration in Lancashire. More.

Clark has also refused permission for another proposed solar farm, ruling that a 22.3-hectare solar park in Kent would represent inappropriate development in the green belt and be at odds with policy which aims to focus large-scale solar farms on previously developed and non-agricultural land. More. 

Clark also called in plans for the expansion of an existing 26-turbine onshore wind farm in Lancashire. More.

Proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill to remove a duty on councils to assess Gypsies' and travellers' housing needs in a separate category to other residents would 'not remove the requirement to assess the specific accommodation needs' of these groups, the planning minister has said. More.

Developers of major sites in a south London borough would have to deliver 35 per cent affordable housing or publish a viability assessment setting out why they cannot achieve this, under a new draft planning policy. More.

Greater Manchester's mayor could be handed powers to implement a city-regional Community Infrastructure Levy under a package of further devolution proposals unveiled by the chancellor George Osborne. More.

A Midlands council has approved plans for a 130-unit retail development on an out-of-centre site after planners concluded that the development met the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) sequential test and that impacts on existing local retailers would not be significantly adverse. More.

Part of the second phase of the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) rail link will open six years ahead of schedule in 2027, the government has announced. More.

The London mayor and combined authorities could be handed powers to take over the preparation of local plans from local planning authorities in their areas should they fail to bring one forward, under a government amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill. More.

The government has launched a review of 'ineffective rules and heavy-handed enforcement' which it says prevent new homes being built. More.

A full planning application for the long-delayed Bristol Arena concert venue has been submitted to the city's council alongside an outline application for the mixed-use redevelopment of the surrounding area. More.

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