10 key things that happened this week

Ten of the biggest stories from the past week, including news that the housing secretary has made a last-minute intervention to stop South Oxfordshire District Council from voting to scrap its emerging local plan.

South Oxfordshire District Council: local plan axe put on hold
South Oxfordshire District Council: local plan axe put on hold

The council had been due to vote to scrap its local plan on Thursday (10 October). However, Robert Jenrick issued a direction preventing the council from going ahead with the move. More.

Legal advice from wildlife regulator Natural England has forced a West Midlands council to halt planning decisions until it brings phosphate levels affecting a European protected site under control. The move has meant that since July, Herefordshire Council has been unable to process some 130 planning applications for 1,100 homes, including one planning application for around 500 homes near the market town of Bromyard for a site allocated for development in the council’s local plan. More.

The government is to trial a scheme offering loans to developers to help them pay "up front" for new schools required to support housing growth, claiming that, along with providing new education facilities, the move will help "boost the viability of new housing estates". More.

A High Court judge has overturned the former housing secretary's decision to refuse plans for a 1,200-home scheme in Cheshire, after ruling that the minister's focus on the deliverability of the scheme in reaching his conclusion was "something of a muddle". More.

Inspectors examining Oxford City Council's draft local plan have recommended that a policy requiring affordable contributions from developers of smaller schemes of four to nine homes should be scrapped because it clashes with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). More.

Reading Borough Council's local plan, which seeks affordable housing contributions from all new developments regardless of size and requires schemes of ten homes or more to be zero carbon, has been found sound by a planning inspector. More.

The housing minister has written to a Nottinghamshire council "seeking further reassurance" that due to the level of green belt release proposed in its emerging local plan it will "prioritise" development on brownfield land "going forward", despite recognising that a planning inspector has just found the strategy to be sound. More.

Social enterprise Public Practice has announced a third wave of planners, architects and urban designers starting one-year placements in local authority planning teams. More.

Legal and environmental campaign group ClientEarth has said it is "exploring all legal avenues" in the wake of the government's decision to give the green light to plans to build gas-fire power facilities at the Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). More.

The High Court has issued the first ever injunction of its kind to prevent a neighbourhood plan in Somerset from proceeding to a local referendum next week in order to allow a developer to mount a legal challenge against the document. More.

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