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21 Oct 2005 : Column 1240W—continued


Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what area of (a) parkland and (b) metropolitan open space there is in each London borough. [18615]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The total area of green space and metropolitan open land in each London borough is shown in the table (these categories are not mutually exclusive). Data relating to "parkland" are not available.
Table 1: Area of green space and metropolitan open landby London borough
London boroughGreen space as at 2001Metropolitan open land
City of London19.00
Barking and Dagenham1,267.1137.8
Hammersmith and Fulham305.6145.4
Kensington and Chelsea187.277.5
Kingston upon Thames1,348.5499.8
Richmond upon Thames2,979.02,997.0
Tower Hamlets384.9121.4
Waltham Forest1,249.6212.5
City of Westminster485.4447.2
All London boroughs61,342.115,159.6

1. Green space includes almost all natural land, such as the natural parts of parks, allotments, agricultural land, road verges and woodland.
2. Metropolitan open land is a designation unique to London and its function is to protect strategically important open spaces within the built environment.
Greenspace—Generalised Land Use Database (ODPM).
Metropolitan open land (GLA).

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Regional Housing Boards

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the regional housing boards will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 when they are merged with the regional chambers. [19918]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is still considering a number of points of detail on how merger of Regional Housing Boards and Regional Planning Bodies is best effected, but hope to make a positive announcement shortly.

Regional Housing Boards provide advice to Ministers on the allocation of housing capital investment: final decisions rest with Ministers, as would be the case should Regional Assemblies take over their work.

Regional Assemblies are voluntary bodies and not therefore subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, "Guidance on the General Principles of Designation of Voluntary Regional Assemblies", issued by my Department in October 2004 states:

Social Housing

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total amount of debt written off under his system of writing off debt for those local authorities which agree to large scale voluntary transfers of the housing stock is; and why the debt of authorities which retain the stock may not be written off in the same way. [18434]

Yvette Cooper: To date the Office has made Overhanging Debt payments amounting to £1.565 billion.

Where the net receipt a local authority receives for the sale of its housing stock in a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer is less than its housing debt, the Office will make a one-off payment to meet the outstanding debt. The one-off payment is in lieu of the subsidy that the Office would otherwise be required to pay the authority.
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To repay the housing debt of local authorities which retain their housing stock would lead to local authorities borrowing more from the public sector whereas after stock transfer registered social landlords can borrow from the private sector.

Student Hostels

Jim Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the consultees on the draft codes of practice for student hostels drawn up by Universities UK and the Accreditation Network; who responded to the consultation; and if he will place a copy of their replies in the Library. [20767]

Yvette Cooper: The following were formally consulted:

We are now considering responses from the following:

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A copy of their replies will be placed n the Library of the House.

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