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20 Jun 2005 : Column 859W—continued

Listed Buildings (Portstewart)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost to the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, excluding legal costs, was in connection with the case pursued by the Department on the demolition of listed buildings at the Diamond in Portstewart during August 2003. [5504]

Angela E. Smith: The cost to the Department of the Environment (excluding legal costs) for the preparation of the prosecution case for the demolition of 9/11 the Diamond, Portstewart was in the region of £8,500.

In addition to the prosecution case, the Department was also dealing with retrospective applications for planning permission and listed-building consent at the site and also the subsequent appeals. It is not possible to apportion the time spent on each of these as they are all interlinked and the Department does not keep itemised records of staff time spent on each case.

Lock Out Crime Scheme

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the lock out crime scheme in tackling crime in the areas in which it has been in operation; and what plans he has to extend it throughout Northern Ireland; [3484]

(2) how many people have applied for assistance under the lock out crime scheme since its inception; and how many of these applicants were successful; [3485]

(3) if he will make a statement on the criteria used when assessing applicants to the lock out crime scheme. [3486]

Mr. Hanson: The lock out crime scheme aims to provide additional home security in the form of door and window locks, exterior lighting and front door
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security free of charge to all those in Northern Ireland aged 65 and over, who are in receipt of housing benefit of rate rebate. The scheme is funded by the Northern Ireland Office and delivered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

There is no application process. The Housing Executive identify all eligible older people and write to each one individually offering the benefits of the scheme. To date 19,500 letters have been issued and 5,526 individuals have returned forms and will be admitted to the scheme. A further 7,500 letters have also been issued on which final information about returns have not yet been compiled. The scheme applies right across Northern Ireland, but has been rolled out on a district council basis. All those eligible aged 75 and over will be contacted by July 2005 and those aged 65 and over by mid 2006.

The criteria used in the scheme targets those older people in the community least able to afford home security. There are almost 250,000 older people in Northern Ireland and the Government could not offer the free supply and installation of home security measures under the lock out crime (LOC) scheme universally within current resources. I was however pleased to recently announce a reduction in the age criteria for the scheme from 75 to 65.

There are no plans to carry out a formal evaluation of LOC. Recipients of LOC are asked to complete a satisfaction survey after completion of the work and the NIHE undertake random evaluation from scheme recipients.

While NIHE do intend to provide information about their findings from this survey it was not possible in the time available from notification about this PQ to provide any meaningful data. However anecdotal and first hand information from recipients clearly indicate that the additional security makes them feel more secure, particularly at night.

Marfan Syndrome

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision there is in the Province for sufferers of Marfan syndrome. [1399]

Mr. Woodward: Marfan's syndrome is a rare, but distressing, condition that affects a small number of people in Northern Ireland. Currently, patients suffering from this syndrome are treated by consultants working in the Regional Genetics Centre at Belfast City Hospital and other appropriate specialists, particularly those within the cardiology unit at the Royal Group of hospitals. The specialist clinicians in this area already work quite closely with one another to provide quality care for all patients and their families. They are moving towards closer and more formal links to further improve the care provided to families in terms of screening for genetic abnormalities, counselling and appropriate treatment.

Mental Health

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will implement the recommendations of the Appleby Report on the National Service Framework for Mental Health. [1402]

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Mr. Woodward: The National Service Framework for Mental Health is a vision for mental health in England and Wales. It does not apply to Northern Ireland. At present, mental health services are being considered by the Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability chaired by Professor David Bamford.

MRI Scans

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the merits of instituting MRI waiting list initiative schemes throughout Northern Ireland. [1418]

Mr. Woodward: There are currently nine MRI scanners in Northern Ireland, with two more planned to come into operation in 2006.

Health and social services boards in Northern Ireland have in recent years undertaken a range of MRI waiting list initiatives which have contributed to alleviating waiting lists and improving waiting times for MRI scans. These include engaging mobile MRI scanning units, introducing evening scanning sessions and utilising private MRI facilities within Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

As MRI capacity within the health and personal social services develops, the need for further waiting list initiatives will be kept under review.

Multi-storey Car Parking (Coleraine)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Northern Ireland when he expects multi- storey car parking provision to be made available in Coleraine. [5545]

Mr. Hanson: Despite the best endeavours of Roads Service to develop a multi-storey car park on the existing ground level car park in Abbey Street, the legal advice is that the statutory powers vested in the Agency would not be sufficient for the type of development required.

The powers for development of such lands are vested in the Department for Social Development (DSD) under Article 87 of the Planning (Northern Ireland)
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Order 1991. The Department for Social Development is considering how best to take forward developments on the Mall and Abbey Street car parks in Coleraine town centre. Subject to the response from the private sector to the development opportunities presented by the sites, it is anticipated that work could begin during 2006.

Neighbourhood Renewal (North Belfast)

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for NorthernIreland what progress has been made on the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy in North Belfast. [5346]

Mr. Hanson: Since the launch of Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy People and Place" in June 2003 by the then Minister for Social Development, (Mr. Spellar), good progress has been made in North Belfast.

To date 15 organisation's have received funding totalling £923,390 under phases 1 and 2 of the Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund with a further 11 organisations currently under consideration.

Work is also underway to create Neighbourhood Partnerships in each of the four Neighbourhood Renewal Area's namely: Inner City North Belfast; Crumlin/Ardoyne; Upper Ardoyne/Ligoniel; and Rathcoole.

The Inner City North Belfast Partnership has submitted a Statement of Readiness" to the Department for Social Development and it is expected this will receive approval in the next few days. At that stage the Partnership will commence work in developing the Neighbourhood Vision Framework" and Action Plan" for the Neighbourhood Renewal Area.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been spent on (a) new build housing, (b) urban renewal areas and (c) renovation and repair in the social housing sector in North Belfast in each year since 2001. [5347]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is set out in the following table and shows land and property acquisition costs which are an essential complement to the expenditure on urban renewal areas but not forming part of that expenditure.
£ million

Urban renewal areas and associated land and property acquisition
Renovation and repair
New build
social housing
renewal areas
Property acquisitionsCapital improvementRevenue maintenance
2004–200527. 2

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