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My right hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell (Mr. Mackay), with his customary authority and sensitivity to the needs of his constituents, said that local residents’ opposition to housing development in their area was continually ignored by the planning
21 Jun 2006 : Column 1426
inspectorate, which is an unfortunate example of increased centralisation under this Government. He emphasised that local elected representatives needed to be able to decide. That is at the heart of our argument.

The hon. Member for Luton, South (Margaret Moran) raised—with admirable eloquence and clarity—the problem of overcrowding. In particular, she drew attention to its seriousness among black and ethnic minority people. I agree with her that we need to address the problem. Indeed, I have had the opportunity to make the point in Westminster Hall. I hope that the hon. Lady will join me in pressing the Minister to change the statutory definition of overcrowding, so that we have a more appropriate benchmark for government policy in the future. I also hope that she will join me in recognising that it was under the Conservative Government that we succeeded in increasing the amount of social housing that was supplied, and that under the present Government the amount of social housing released and supplied has diminished.

My hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells—who deserves enormous credit for having introduced a ten-minute Bill, which a Government Whip, sadly, tried to strangle the other day—spoke with passion, fluency and great intellectual authority about the perversity of encouraging development on urban green space when the original brownfield designation was intended to ensure that industrial land was redeveloped. He pointed out, crucially, that for those of us who believe in creating more social and affordable housing, infill and garden development of the kind that we are seeing does not trigger the requirement to provide such housing that is laid down in the Government’s regulations. That point was backed up by the hon. Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).

The hon. Member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush (Mr. Slaughter) spent most of his speech saying that he wished we had had another debate. Given the rest of his comments, I understand and sympathise with his desire to speak on a different motion. He did not directly address any of the concerns raised by his hon. Friends who signed the early-day motion tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells.

In voting for the motion, hon. Members will be standing up for the sort of spacious domestic environment that gives families the chance to enjoy a decent quality of life. We will be standing up for biodiversity and urban green space against policies that perversely encourage insensitive development. Most importantly of all, we will be standing up for local people, local autonomy and local government, against centralised edicts that rob people of control over their communities.

Mr. Soames: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not the height of insolence and bad manners to the Chamber that the Secretary of State, who responded at the beginning of the debate, is not here to listen to the wind-up or to the response from my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove)?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman has a point. [Interruption.] However, the Secretary of State has just arrived. I would not use the term “insolence”, but those who lead off a debate should return for the wind-up speeches. It is a strong tradition of this House, and it should be observed.

21 Jun 2006 : Column 1427
6.50 pm

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper): We have had a wide-ranging debate this afternoon. The hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell) raised issues to do with environmental standards for housing, about which I agree. My right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) pointed out some of the rather absurd—if unintended—consequences that the Opposition motion would have for extensions, which would be regarded as brownfield development.

The right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. Mackay) asked about village design statements. I shall be happy to respond to him in more detail, but I assure him that we support those statements and want to give them a stronger role in the new planning guidance. My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Margaret Moran) talked about the serious need for new homes in her constituency.

The hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark) raised a variety of points, and I shall respond to many of them in due course. However, he raised an important issue when he said that small housing developments do not include affordable housing. I agree that that is a significant matter, and it is one of the factors supporting the introduction of the planning gain supplement that may be more appropriate for smaller sites.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush (Mr. Slaughter) raised some important points. I was very concerned by what he said about the attitude towards affordable housing of the new Conservative-controlled council in his area. That is a serious problem for people in his constituency.

Opposition Front Benchers touched on a range of issues to do with density and planning guidance. However, I can tell the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) that the Government make no apology for saying that we think that density should be greater. For many years, low-density executive developments have taken up large areas of greenfield land, and it is simply not true that one cannot build at relatively higher densities and still include gardens or wonderful designs.

I turn now to the main issues in the debate. The Opposition have called for an end to building on back gardens, but we need be clear about the facts. In 2005, 14 per cent. of new homes were built on residential land. [ Interruption. ] Opposition Members have made their points, and I want to respond. That figure includes homes built on the footprint of previous buildings, and is not confined to homes built on drives or back gardens. In 1990, in contrast, 20 per cent. of new homes were built on previously developed residential land. Therefore, the proportion of new homes being built on previously developed residential land is lower today than it was in 1990.

Greg Clark: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Greg Clark: rose

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman should resume his seat. He should remember, when he intervenes on a point of order, that the wind-up speaker has only 10 minutes and that he is interfering with that time.

21 Jun 2006 : Column 1428

Greg Clark: I am very grateful, Mr. Speaker. The Minister said that the Opposition were arguing for development—

Mr. Speaker: Order. I shall stop the hon. Gentleman there. These are matters for debate and rebuttal. He must take his chances in these situations.

Yvette Cooper: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to the House, but I now have very little time to respond to the many points made in the debate.

It is certainly true that this Government have increased the emphasis on the use of brownfield land. We make no apology for that, as the result has been a renaissance in our cities and towns, the regeneration of many abandoned industrial sites and a substantial reduction in the amount of greenfield land needed for development. According to the urban taskforce, 90 people were living in the heart of Manchester in 1990; today, 25,000 people live there and the city is thriving as a result. The proportion of new homes on former industrial and commercial sites has more than doubled since 1997 as a result of the measures we have taken.

Members have raised specific issues about brownfield categorisation. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Mr. Jenkins): the issue should not be about blocking whole categories of development as either greenfield or brownfield, but about quality and appropriateness. It should also be about meeting needs. Opposition Members must recognise that we need to make sure that we meet the needs of the next generation for homes. To listen to some of them talk about flats and the problems of developing flats, we would think that flats was a dirty word. They need to recognise that it is not planning definitions and Government requirements that put pressure on their constituencies, but need and demand for housing. We all have an obligation to respond to that.

I agree that we need to strengthen the focus on quality and design both of buildings and of their neighbouring environment. That is why we set out in December new consultation on planning guidance, which states clearly:

It also states:

Local authorities will have a clear obligation to look at quality, but also to provide land for the homes we need.

Given the passion of Opposition Members, I looked up their contributions to the planning policy consultation. Unfortunately, they said nothing because they did not respond—so much for their apparent commitment to improving the location and planning of housing. However, I suspect that that is not what the debate is really about. The hon. Member for Hazel Grove—

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

21 Jun 2006 : Column 1429

Mr. Speaker: It is unfortunate that the hon. Gentleman is raising a point of order when there is a severe limit on Front-Bench speeches. I note that he tried to intervene on several occasions, so I hope that he does not want to make that point as his point of order, as I shall stop him.

Mr. Howarth: My point of order is that the Minister has just said that she received no responses—

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman can find an opportunity to take that up with the Minister at a later stage.

Yvette Cooper: To be fair to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth), I am happy to clarify the point. We received no responses from Opposition Front Benchers on that issue—nor from the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells, who has made such a point of debating it in this place.

That is not what the debate is really about; it is about the fact that the Conservatives still oppose new housing. They still do not accept the fact that we need 200,000 new homes every year if we are to meet the needs of future generations. The hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) has not only said that she will refuse to agree to the 200,000 additional homes we need, but has also told The House Magazine that she thinks 140,000 new homes is too many. We are already building more than 140,000—that number is not too high.

Mrs. Spelman: I realise that the hon. Lady is short of time so I am grateful to her for giving way, but her point about our opposition to new homes cannot be squared with the Secretary of State’s acknowledgement that I supported the proposal of the Conservative-controlled council in my borough to build new homes.

Yvette Cooper: And the hon. Lady still will not agree that we need 200,000 more homes.

Conservative Members are still not facing up to the difficult question of where new homes should be built. They will not support the additional homes that we need and they will not support the additional funding for infrastructure, because they keep opposing anything like a planning gain supplement. They do not want new homes in the suburbs; they do not want them in the countryside either, where they want even more green belt to protect villages and towns. They do not want new homes on industrial land. The hon. Lady said in the Western Morning News that she objected to the £60,000 homes on former industrial and NHS sites because:

That is interesting information for those of our constituents who have lived next to mines for very many years.

The Conservatives do not want new homes in Surrey. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath is one of 15 Tory MPs to sign an early-day motion opposing house building in Surrey. They do not want new homes in Essex either—even more of them signed an early-day motion about that; nor do they want them in West Sussex, Hertfordshire or anywhere in the south of England, which is where they propose to cut the number of homes, not to increase them.

21 Jun 2006 : Column 1430

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire) (Con) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 208, Noes 284.
Division No. 270]
[6.59 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duncan, Mr. Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mr. Peter
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Andrew Rosindell and
Mr. Crispin Blunt

Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin

Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, Mr. David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Mr. Jimmy
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan

Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Tellers for the Noes:

Steve McCabe and
Mr. Michael Foster
Question accordingly negatived.
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