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21 Mar 2005 : Column 580W—continued

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister howmany visits to Southend have been made by his officials in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [223420]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Neighbourhood Renewal Funds (Cornwall)

Ms Atherton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will break down by district council the allocation of neighbourhood renewal funds in West Cornwall. [222837]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is published on the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit website at:

An announcement will be made in due course on theallocation of new Neighbourhood Renewal Fund resources for the period 2006–08, once the Office of theDeputy Prime Minister has considered fully the responses to our consultation.

Planning (Children's Homes)

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what planning consents private companies that are seeking to open residential children's homes in private residential properties are required to obtain from their local planning authorities before they are able to commence business. [222644]

Keith Hill: The Town and Country (Use Classes) Order 1987 (the UCO) sets out classes of uses, changes within which do not require planning permission due to the similarity in their impact on local amenity, for example: traffic generation, noise, and visual appearance.

The UCO classifies dwelling houses as a C3 use class. This includes dwelling houses used by a single person, any number of persons living as a family, or by no more
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than six people living together as a single household. Any change of use from this status would normally require planning permission.

Sheltered Housing Schemes

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice he provides to (a) local authorities and (b) private or independently-run sheltered schemes on how to use arbitration and consultation procedures in disputes between scheme managers and tenants and owners. [222952]

Yvette Cooper: So far as housing-related support issues are concerned, the Supporting People Quality Assessment Framework core objective includes a requirement that service users, carers and other stakeholders are made aware of complaints procedures and how to use them. However, this only applies to housing support services and services under Supporting People contract to the local administering authority, and does not apply to private sheltered housing schemes

The Housing Corporation requires that Registered Social Landlord (RSL) tenants and applicants have access to effective complaints procedures, and has produced good practice guidance on complaints handling.

Tenants of RSLs also have statutory access to the Independent Housing Ombudsman Scheme (IHOS). In considering cases, the Ombudsman may recommend alternative dispute resolution, either by the use of mediation, arbitration or otherwise, to complainants and member landlords at any time during or at the end of an investigation.

Social Housing

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average number of bedrooms in each social housing unit built was in each year since 1979. [222186]

Keith Hill: Estimates of the average number of bedrooms are not available. The following table shows, for particular years, estimates of the percentages of social dwellings for rent built by flats and houses and with one, two, three and four or more bedrooms.

The figures for 1995–96, 2000–01 and 2003–04 include only Registered social landlord dwellings. Those for 1979, 1985 and 1990 also include local authority and new town dwellings as they then accounted for a larger proportion of social dwellings built.

Figures for each year from 1991–92 are available from the housing statistics section on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at:


1 bedroom586331
2 bedrooms131821342923
3 bedrooms261617302724
4+ bedrooms423446
1 bedroom334136171713
2 bedrooms161315111731
3 bedrooms212131
4+ bedrooms1
Houses and flats
1 bedroom384841201914
2 bedrooms293236454654
3 bedrooms291819313025
4+ bedrooms423457

(16)Figures include both new housing association and new local authority/new town dwellings built.

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Trees (London)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to increase the number of trees in London; and whether, he has met (a) the Mayor, (b) the London boroughs and (c) his Department's ministers to discuss this. [221945]

Keith Hill: The London Tree and Woodland Framework Consultation Document was launched in July 2004, produced by the London Woodland Advisory Group which includes Government Office for London, Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Forestry Commission (FC). Consultation involved a wide range of London stakeholders, and as key members of the Advisory Group the Mayor and officials from the GLA were closely involved in drawing up proposals in the framework, while boroughs through the London Tree Officers Association were key consultees.

The Government plan to launch the Tree and Woodland Framework for London shortly. The document will provide a firm commitment by a wide partnership of London bodies including the GLA and the FC to maintain and enhance London's trees and woodlands as a vital part of the environment and will establish priority locations for new tree planting, taking into account such factors as levels of social deprivation, transport corridors and gateways, derelict land, biodiversity objectives, areas of regeneration and community forests.

The 'million trees campaign' which is managed by Trees for London, supported by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the FC, was initiated in September 2003. This project involves a London-wide partnership to plant one million new trees in London by 2010. To date this has already achieved a total of 330,000 trees. The work of the FC and Thames Chase Community Forest has also resulted in substantial areas of new planting with full public access in the North East of London. This project has been supported by the Government's Capital Modernisation Fund and work to extend the forest will continue. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are also actively involved in the Greening the Gateway partnership which is the shared environmental vision for the Thames Gateway London. I am in regular contact with the Mayor and London boroughs on environmental issues.
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Asylum Seekers

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applicants he estimates are living in York. [222229]

Mr. Browne: Statistics on the location of asylum seekers in the UK are linked to the available information on the support that the asylum seeker receives.

At the end of December 2004 there were 151 1 asylum seekers in the local authority area of York recorded as in receipt of National Asylum Support Service (NASS) support.

Corresponding figures for those not in receipt of NASS support are not available and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Numbers of asylum seekers placed in NASS accommodation and numbers who are in receipt of subsistence only support from NASS, are published on a quarterly and annual basis. The next publication covering the first quarter of 2005 (January to March) will be available on 17 May 2005 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers and refugees have been issued with short-term certificates of identity to enable them to visit areas affected by the tsunami. [222260]

Mr. Browne: Two short-term certificates of identity have been issued for the purpose of travel to areas affected by the tsunami. One was issued to a refugee, and the other to a person who had been granted exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom.

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