10 key things that happened this week

Ten of the biggest stories from the past week, including news that the government has published new planning guidance on good design, alongside a new National Design Guide.

New homes: new design guide published
New homes: new design guide published

The new National Design Guide, published alongside the new guidance, says that councils that have not produced their own local design guides will be allowed to defer to the government's new National Design Guide and the impending National Model Design Code when considering whether development proposals meet the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF's) design policy requirements. More.

Consultation has been launched by a Hertfordshire borough on a local plan which proposes a new homes target falling short of local housing need, with the authority saying it will need to review the green belt and work with neighbouring authorities to provide for unmet need. More.

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has provisionally recommended that the mayor of London slashes the proposed housing target in the new draft London Plan from 65,000 homes per year to 52,000, according to press reports. More.

Milton Keynes Council says that it "will be seeking legal advice" following a planning inspector's ruling that it cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply, just six months after it adopted its new local plan. More.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that the government will push ahead with controversial plans to ease planning rules to allow upwards extensions of properties and the demolition of commercial buildings to make way for new homes. Speaking at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event, Jenrick described the two measures as "two new freedoms". More.

Jenrick also said that the government would allow councils to raise planning application fees in return for higher quality services, and will also consider how pre-commencement conditions can be cut further. More.

Elsewhere, Jenrick said that the government wants to make further changes to the planning system to make it more consumer-friendly for householders and small builders. More.

Also speaking at the Tory Conference, housing minister Esther McVey said that the government will be "changing the rules" around permitted development (PD) rights for new housing to improve standards. More.

McVey also said that the government is set to create an "A-team" of experts to go around the country and help support under-resourced local authority planning teams. More.

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