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14 Oct 2005 : Column 617W—continued

House Building

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the timetable is for the implementation of the Barker Report. [15225]

Yvette Cooper: The Government will set out its final response to Kate Barker's recommendations by the end of 2005.

Progress in implementing Kate Barker's recommendations has already been made:

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John Mann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new houses will be built through housing renewal pathfinders in each of the next five years. [17808]

Yvette Cooper: Funding for the nine housing market renewal pathfinders has only been allocated up to the end of March 2006. In total the programme is planned to deliver 3000 new homes by that date.

John Mann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many shared ownership schemes were provided by housing renewal pathfinders in the last year for which figures are available. [17810]

Yvette Cooper: Five shared ownership schemes have been part funded by the housing market renewal pathfinders in the last year.

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the residential housing density per hectare has been in (a) London, (b) the South East and (c) England in each of the last 20 years. [16558]

Yvette Cooper: The available estimates are for densities of new residential dwellings, from Land Use Change Statistics, and are shown in the table attached.
Density of new residential dwellings built:London, South East and England, 1985–2004

Dwellings per hectare
LondonSouth EastEngland
2004 (provisional)834340

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what estimate his Department has made of future residential housing density per hectare in (a) London, (b) the South East and (c) England; and if he will make a statement; [16559]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the optimal housing density for environmental sustainability; and if he will make a statement. [16560]

Yvette Cooper: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3, "Housing (PPG3)", sets out the Government's aim of making the best use of land, by encouraging housing developments of between 30 to 50 dwellings per hectare (dph) and a greater intensity of development in highly accessible locations. For the purposes of Public Service Agreement 6, the Government have set the target that
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average density of new housing development in each English region should reach at least 30dph, and in London at least 50dph, by 2006.

"Land Use Change Use Statistics", published in July 2005, indicate that in 2004, new house-building was built at an average density in the Government Office Regions of London and the South East of 83 and 43dph respectively, and 40dph nationally.

Local planning authorities should have regard to the density policies set out in PPG3 in formulating their development plan policies and in determining planning applications for housing development. If there are local circumstances which justify a departure from national policy at the local level, these should be set out in the plan. There is no optimal density for environmental sustainability as this will depend on the particular circumstances of a local authority's area, such as the location and accessibility of potential development sites and the potential for improving such accessibility.

In the autumn, the Government intend to publish for consultation a new draft Planning Policy Statement 3, which will set out a new national policy framework for planning for housing and will replace existing PPG3.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many dwellings have been built as a result of section 106 agreements between local authorities and property developers in each year since 1990. [15582]

Yvette Cooper: The number of dwellings built in England as a result of section 106 agreements is table below. The numbers include social housing for rent and other types of affordable housing such as share ownership. Information has only been collected centrally since 2000–01.
Social housing

Number of dwellings

Local authority Housing Strategy Returns to ODPM

Planning (Rural Sub-Plot Sales)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's circular letter of 19 April 2004 to chief planning officers in assisting local authorities to deal with the problem of small sub-plot sales of rural land; [17669]

(2) if he will make a statement on his Department's review of Article 4 Directions in respect of the Town and Country Planning Acts (General Permitted Development) Order; [17670]

(3) how many representations his Department has received since 1 January 2004 from (a) hon. Members, (b) local authorities and (c) others on the sale to speculators of small sub-plot sales of rural land. [17671]

Yvette Cooper: The letter to which the hon. member refers was a reminder to local authorities of their existing powers in this area. It also alerted them to
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forthcoming guidance on the use of section 215 notices, which ODPM published in January. The letter was advisory only, and information about representations is not kept in the manner requested.

We expect to consult later this year on two changes to Article 4 Direction procedure, and also on some new guidance to replace that issued in DoE Circular 9/95, General Development Order Consolidation 1995. The proposed legal changes will increase a local planning authority's power to make directions without having to wait for the Secretary of State's approval, and enable them to bring directions into immediate effect where it is difficult to trace owners of all the land covered by a direction.

Parliamentary Questions

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many written parliamentary questions tabled in this session to him for which the date for answer has passed and have not yet been answered. [15247]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In the current session of Parliament, 1,363 parliamentary questions have been tabled to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister. At 10 October 2005, 11 questions that were due for answer before that date were awaiting a reply, but all of them will receive an answer.

Pensions (Haringey Council)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the financial position of the London borough of Haringey council pension scheme. [16993]

Mr. Woolas: The most recent actuarial valuation of the London borough of Haringey council pension fund, carried out on 31 March 2004, showed that its assets represented 69 percent. of accrued liabilities. Following the valuation, contribution rates for all the participating employers in the fund were set by the actuary for the triennial period ending 31 March 2008 to ensure its ongoing solvency. The next valuation takes place on 31 March 2007.

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