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20 Mar 2006 : Column 66W—continued


Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total estimated expenditure is on the Pathfinder programme. [56098]

Yvette Cooper: By end of March 2008 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will have invested £1.2 billion in housing market renewal grant. Funding beyond that will depend on the Comprehensive Spending Review.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many planning applications for isolated houses in the countryside under the provisions of paragraph 11 of planning policy statement 7 have been referred to him as departures from the provisions of the development plan; how many have been called in by him for determination; and how many have been (a) approved and (b) refused. [59161]

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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 March 2006]: Since PPS7 was published, two cases have been referred to the First Secretary of State, both of which have been called-in:

Mr. Malins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many appeals have been submitted to the planning inspectorate against the decision of a local planning authority to refuse planning permission for isolated houses in the countryside as provided for in planning policy statement 7; and how many of these have been allowed. [59162]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 March 2006]: The information is not recorded centrally and cannot be provided without disproportionate costs.

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the revision of planning policy guidance has changed the situation with regard to gaining permission for the building of domestic units on former airfields. [55018]

Yvette Cooper: No. The proposed changes reflected in annex A of draft planning policy statement 3: 'Housing' (PPS3), published for consultation in December 2005, were not intended to affect the application of the definition of previously-developed land to former airfields. Specifically they do not seek to change policy in relation to the development of former airfield sites for housing.

The consultation period for responses to draft PPS3 closed on 27 February. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will take into account consultation responses on this matter in finalising PPS3.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what planning (a) guidance and (b) regulations apply to (i) building new schools and (ii) expanding existing schools. [54534]

Yvette Cooper: Decisions on planning applications are taken by the local planning authority in the first instance, having regard to relevant policies in the development plan in accordance with section 38(6) of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act.

There is a range of national planning guidance, principally set out in the Government's planning policy statements (PPS) and planning policy guidance notes (PPG), which may apply to the construction or expansion of schools in varying circumstances. For example, the policies in PPG2, 'Green Belts', will apply to schools in the green belt. More specifically, paragraph 27(v) of PPS1, 'Delivering Sustainable Development', advises planning authorities in preparing their development plans to seek to provide improved access for all to education, as well as to other services and facilities, by ensuring that new development is located where everyone can access these facilities without
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having to rely on the car. (PPS and PPG are available under the planning section of the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at

The regulatory provisions in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and in relevant secondary planning legislation have a general applicability, including to school development. Part 32 of schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 grants schools the right to expand floorspace by 10 per cent., in certain circumstances, without the need to submit a planning application.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many hectares of previously developed land in the Thames Gateway are (a) available for building on and (b) expected to become available in the future. [54709]

Yvette Cooper: The information available is from the National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land. This shows a total of 2,790 hectares of previously-developed vacant or derelict land in the Thames Gateway policy area in 2004, and 4,510 hectares currently in use with planning permission or allocation in a local plan for redevelopment, or otherwise known to be available for redevelopment.

Renewable Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he took the decision to postpone his Department's plans to consult on a code for sustainable buildings; and for what reasons. [54065]

Yvette Cooper: The consultation document on the code for sustainable homes was published as planned on 5 December 2005. Consultation closed on 6 March 2006.

Residential Accommodation (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for tackling overcrowding in residential accommodation in Peterborough; and if he will make a statement. [53805]

Yvette Cooper: Peterborough city council is addressing the issue of overcrowding in a number of ways: working with housing associations to provide more new affordable housing through the Housing Corporation's National Affordable Housing Programme, exploring the feasibility of bringing long-term empty houses back in to use and providing advice to residents on the most appropriate housing options available.

The Government have doubled its investment in social housing from 1997 levels, and the Housing Corporation has taken steps to encourage investment in larger homes through its National Affordable Housing Programme. The full details of the Housing Corporation's programme of social housing investment over the next two years for every region will be announced shortly.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister recognises that overcrowding causes serious problems for families. I announced on 8 March the Government's intention to consult this year on raising the statutory overcrowding standards, which were set in 1935. In addition the Government believes we need to build more homes
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across the board to tackle long-term pressures of overcrowding. The Government are supporting new homes for Peterborough.

Residential House Boats

Dr. Cable: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he proposes to make a statement on the status of residential house boats following his recent public consultation on the options. [54716]

Yvette Cooper: We will publish our response to the representations made on the consultation paper about security of tenure for residential boats by 16 May 2006.

Right to Buy (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many right-to-buy completions there were in Peterborough in each year since 1996–97. [54857]

Yvette Cooper: The number of council houses sold in Peterborough under the right-to-buy scheme in each year since 1998–99 as reported by Peterborough can be found on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at:( Information is only available for the years shown.

Shared Home Ownership

Mr. Leech: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to introduce a shared home ownership scheme for key workers outside the South East of England. [54704]

Yvette Cooper: The Key Worker Living programme is a specific scheme focused on helping key workers in London, the East and the South East of England and there are currently no plans to extend it. All regional housing boards were asked to advise Ministers on the allocation of resources to their region for the 2006–08 funding period including whether they would like to recommend allocating a percentage of their resources to specifically help key workers. Only London, the East and the South East have done so.

However, from April 2006, key workers are one of the eligible groups for all other Government funded low cost home ownership schemes alongside social tenants, those on the housing register and priority first time buyers recommended by regional housing boards around the country. 50 per cent. of homes provided through the First Time Buyers Initiative, being delivered by English Partnerships, which includes areas outside the South East will also be available for key workers. Information on which Government funded low cost home ownership schemes can be accessed by key workers in each area will be available from the local zone agent, contact details for which will be available on ODPM's website from April 2006.

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