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Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin): With permission, I shall put together the motions relating to delegated legislation.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Employment and Training

Question agreed to.




    That Miss Melanie Johnson be discharged from the Select Committee on Public Administration and Ms Margaret Moran be added to the Committee.--[Mr. Allen.]

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    That the following provisions shall apply to the Greater London Authority Bill--

    Committee of the whole House
    1. Proceedings in Committee of the whole House on Clauses 1 to 4 of, and Schedules 1 and 2 to, the Bill shall be completed in two allotted days and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at Ten o'clock on the second day.
    Standing Committee
    2. Proceedings in the Standing Committee to which the remainder of the Bill is committed shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 12.50 p.m. on 30th March 1999.
    Business Committee
    3. Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply to proceedings on the Bill.
    Business Sub-Committee
    4. Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are taken in the Standing Committee.
    Procedure in Standing Committee
    5. At a sitting of the Standing Committee at which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order or a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee, the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.
    Conclusion of proceedings
    6. For the purpose of concluding any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by or under this Order--
    (1) The Chairman or Speaker shall put forthwith the following Questions (but no others)--
    (a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
    (b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including in the case of a new Clause or Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
    (c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown; and
    (d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded.
    (2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to sittings of the House and may be decided, though opposed, at any hour.
    (3) If, apart from this sub-paragraph, two or more Questions would fall to be put by the Chairman under sub-paragraph (1)(d) in relation to a series of Clauses or Schedules to which no notice of amendment has been given by a Minister of the Crown, the Chairman shall instead put a single question in relation to those Clauses and Schedules.
    (4) On a Motion made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Speaker shall put only the question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
    Supplementary provisions
    7. In this Order "allotted day" means any day on which the Bill is put down on the main business as first Government Order of the Day.

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    8. If any Motion is made by a Minister of the Crown to amend this Order so as to provide a greater amount of time for proceedings on the Bill under paragraph 1 or 2 of this Order, the Question thereon shall be put forthwith and may be decided, though opposed, at any hour.
    9. If any Motion is made by a Minister of the Crown to supplement the provisions of this Order in respect of proceedings on Consideration or Third Reading or on any Lords Amendments or any subsequent message from the Lords relating to the Bill, the Motion may be proceeded with, though opposed, at any hour and the proceedings, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion three-quarters of an hour after they have been commenced.--[Mr. Allen.]

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    Allerton Bywater

    Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.--[Mr. Allen.]

    10.14 pm

    Mr. Colin Burgon (Elmet): I am very pleased to be able to help put the village of Allerton Bywater on the national map as a result of being successful in securing this Adjournment debate.

    Hoping that I will not sound too much like a geography teacher, I shall point out that the village of Allerton Bywater is a former mining village lying in the south-eastern corner of the Leeds boundary, overlooking the neighbouring town of Castleford. The colliery, which over 100 years was mainly responsible for the growth and development of the village, finally closed in 1992. Its closure was part of the last Government's vindictive closure programme.

    The colliery, adjoining workshops and British Coal's administrative offices provided employment for about 2,000 people. All those jobs have now disappeared, with obvious knock-on effects for local shops and businesses. As a result--this is based on figures from May 1998--the village has an unemployment rate of 10.5 per cent., twice the national average and twice the Leeds average.

    My links with Allerton predate the miners' strike of 1984-85, but it was during that great strike that I got to know the village well and made many friends. One of my abiding memories of that time is of being invited to join the local miners on their march back to work after the strike ended. The march finished in the colliery yard. I think it very fitting that the colliery site that loomed so large in the life of the village is now seen as a catalyst for the positive changes that will help to create a more confident future as we move towards the millennium.

    Hon. Members can imagine my delight when, on 13 July 1998, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that Allerton Bywater had been chosen as a site for the second millennium communities competition--following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed and successful Greenwich millennium village project. Building on that success, the Deputy Prime Minister asked English Partnerships to organise five or six further competitions in the English regions.

    Included in the criteria for the second competition were requirements that the site chosen should comprise previously used land in order to meet the Government's brown-field and recycling agenda; that the site should offer a range of different challenges from an urban planning, environmental, sociological and technological perspective; that the site should have a waterfront location; that the possibility of what is described as retrofitting a scheme into an existing settlement should be considered; and that the site chosen should enable the recommendations of the coalfields task force report to be observed in the context of empowering the coalfield areas affected by pit closures to bring about their own sustainable regeneration. I would like to think that my charm, persuasiveness and brilliant ability to network were responsible, but I think that it was for the reasons that I have just given that Allerton was chosen.

    The whole project--all the competition--presents a vivid contrast to the last Government's approach. This Labour Government are about social inclusion and social solidarity: they reject the idea that the fate of communities should be left to the whim of market forces.

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    I have no doubt that the Deputy Prime Minister has high expectations of the millennium communities competition in Allerton Bywater, and I know that the villagers, English Partnerships, Leeds city council and the advisory panel share those expectations. We all look to the successful scheme to act as a reference point for future development, particularly of brown-field land, and as an example of best practice for the regeneration, design and development of many other urban and rural communities throughout the country.

    I am privileged to be a member of the advisory panel chaired by Lord Rogers of Riverside, which has helped English Partnerships to assess the original 11 submissions from consortiums that wish to carry out the project. We are now down to the final three, and, after a period of community consultation in the village, the winning submission will hopefully be announced at the beginning of March.

    The aspirations of the millennium communities competition that the winning submission will have to meet are stringent and demanding, and are worthy of mention as an illustration of the philosophy behind the project. First, the competing consortiums have been informed that they will have to develop a design philosophy of the highest quality. They will have to recognise that this is a project of national significance, and they will have to challenge much of the mundane housing design that has become typical of the British approach to house building over the past 20 years. That approach has given us development that lacks the community, social and cultural focal points that sustain life.

    Secondly, there must be a mixed-use development of the 60-acre colliery site. The new plan for Allerton Bywater has to capture the essential qualities of a working village, best delivered through an appropriate mix of uses.

    Thirdly, sustainability is central to the project. Targets will be set and will have to be achieved. The houses that will be built at Allerton Bywater will break new ground in more ways than one--they will be energy efficient. A target of 50 per cent. reduction in energy consumption compared with conventional housing has been set for the competition. Combined heat and power, solar energy, solar gain and the highest standards of insulation will all have to be looked at. On the basis of expectations at Greenwich, the aim is to reduce household waste in Allerton Bywater by 50 per cent. It may not be popular with the bin men, but there we are.

    Many of those ideas and others that I do not have time to mention show what a progressive and forward-looking project the village will be involved in. Allerton Bywater will be a trail-blazer for the rest of the country.

    The fourth aspiration is that it is of the utmost importance that the project must at all times acknowledge that

    is central to the whole scheme. In a nutshell, we must ensure that we avoid sharp and divisive social and physical contrasts between the existing village and the new development on the site of the colliery.

    That is a real challenge, but I am glad to note that the liveliness and involvement of people in the village is instrumental in helping us to face and meet that challenge.

    We have in place a colliery site forum, which was set up by English Partnerships. I chair the forum. It facilitates public discussion and involvement in the question of

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    pit-site development and related topics. I am pleased to note that two former members of the National Union of Mineworkers sit on the forum: Les Wigglesworth and Karl Curry, both of whom played a prominent part in the 1984-85 strike. The people who destroyed the coal industry have moved on, but those two men are still here, determined as ever to forward the interests of the community in which they live.

    Many other organisations are involved in the village, but, unfortunately, time does not permit me to list them all. However, I must acknowledge that my meetings with the local regeneration group, organised by Ken Asprey, and the tenants and residents, organised by Ian Sambrook, have been especially valuable in keeping me informed of villagers' views. By May, we will have a newly formed parish council for the village. That should overcome any perception of a so-called democratic deficit.

    From my wide discussions with villagers, I am able to tell the House that the priorities that are held by them are the priorities that are held by us all--they want better education, jobs and training and an improved physical and social environment.

    It is recognised that people will need high-quality local education facilities if we are to make the idea of lifelong learning a reality. We hope to see improved community learning and study resources at both the village school sites, centred on an information and communications technology network. I am confident that, in the head at Brigshaw school, Peter Lawrence, and the head at Allerton Bywater primary school, Gill Weatherhead, we have two people who will give a lead in our quest to develop the concept of a learning village and a culture that values education.

    With reference to jobs and training, people want workshops and office spaces to be developed on the site. They want to be able to work locally. I know that English Partnerships is actively considering proposals for employment. At a minimum, I hope that local people will benefit from the job opportunities that arise from the development work and that contractors will be required to use and to train local labour.

    The ideas relating to an improved physical and social environment are wide ranging. As its name suggests, the village has a riverside setting and there is a widespread desire to maximise that undoubted asset in visual amenity and leisure terms. There is a recognised need to create a real village centre in what is, currently, a linear settlement with no natural focus.

    Under active consideration are schemes to improve unadopted roads, tree planting programmes and improvements to sport and community facilities, with the emphasis on developing what is already in place. Traffic flows have created much discussion. We would all welcome traffic-calming measures in the village. I add that, in an attempt to improve links with the outside world, plans are afoot to put a bridge over the River Aire to the neighbouring village of Methley.

    I hope that I have shown the exciting possibilities that have been opened by the millennium competition for Allerton Bywater. A positive step has been taken and local people overwhelmingly recognise that. We realise also that we have to have the continuing support of the Government. I therefore ask the Minister--who comes from an area that is similar to mine--to confirm, first, that that support will continue.

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    In summing up the lessons to be learned, the Greenwich competition briefing paper stated:

    Secondly, I ask the Minister to confirm that, whenit comes to considering financial imperatives, the Government will sensitively balance also the village's social needs and desires.

    Thirdly, I ask the Minister to pass on to the Deputy Prime Minister and to the Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning an invitation to visit Allerton Bywater in the near future. I assure them that they will receive a friendly reception.

    I have been delighted to show some of my London-based colleagues on the advisory panel round Allerton. Although I know that no hon. Member would question the implicit superiority of all things northern, I have been able to develop a better insight into the value, worth and attractiveness of Allerton Bywater by seeing it through fresh--London--eyes.

    I can do no better in ending my speech than to quote the words of another visitor to Allerton Bywater, Dr. Francis Duffy, who is also involved in the millennium competition. In his message to the various consortiums competing for the work, he said:

    I heartily concur with those words.

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