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2 Oct 2006 : Column 2533W—continued


Brownfield Sites (London)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many brownfield sites there are in each London borough. [87243]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not available centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land provides estimates of
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total amounts of previously-developed land. The local authorities which provide the data make an allowance for small sites but these are not recorded individually, so that it is not possible to give an estimate of the total number of sites.

Business Rates

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) second and (b) holiday homes were liable for business rates in each collecting local authority area in (i) 1995, (ii) 2000, (iii) 2005 and (iv) 2006. [71604]

Mr. Woolas: I have placed in the Library of the House a table showing the number of properties in the rating lists described as “self catering holiday accommodation” at March each year from 2000 to 2005. Equivalent data for the period before 2000 are not readily available and figures for 2006 are not yet available.

Empty Dwellings

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice her Department has taken on whether Empty Dwelling Management Orders would breach Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights. [83027]

Yvette Cooper: During the drafting of all legislation the Government has available to it legal resources and the Housing Bill was no different. The Bill was scrutinised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the appendix to that Committee's 20th report published on 20 October 2004 contains a memorandum at appendix 2a from the right hon. Lord Rooker in which he explains how the Government consider the provisions on empty dwelling management orders are consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular, to Article 1 of the First Protocol and to Article 6. The Government are satisfied that the provisions on empty dwelling management orders are fully compatible with the Convention. A statement as to compatibility was made in both Houses and the Government's view has not changed.

Euro-preparation Group

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of the local authorities' euro preparation group of 21 February 2006. [70590]

Mr. Woolas: The meeting of the local authorities’ euro preparation group held on 21 February 2006 was a private meeting arranged jointly by HM Treasury and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy's (CIPFA) Euro Advisory Service. The minutes are only available to the attendees and the local authority subscribers to the CIPFA Euro Advisory Service.


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High Bickington Community Property Trust

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account she took of the Government’s declared aim in respect of affordable housing in rejecting the application of High Bickington Community Property Trust for consent to build affordable homes in that village. [74635]

Yvette Cooper: The Secretary of State’s decision letter of 9 May sets out in detail the reasoning behind the decision. I know that the hon. Member already has a copy of this letter—I have also placed a copy in the House Libraries. Now that this decision has been issued, the Secretary of State has no further jurisdiction in the matter and it would not be appropriate to comment further on the particular merits of the proposal.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the penalty will be for marketing a home without a home information pack. [83075]

Yvette Cooper: Where enforcement officers decide to take action following a breach of the home information pack duties, they will have the option of serving a penalty charge notice. The penalty charge is set at £200 in the Home Information Pack Regulations 2006 and could be repeated for an on-going breach. Where the breach is committed by an estate agent, the case could be referred to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT may then consider using existing powers to issue a banning order requiring the agent to cease trading and we regard this as the main deterrent.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment the Government has made of the cost of a Home Condition Report in London for a (a) three bedroom semi-detached house, (b) two bedroom flat and (c) four bedroom house (i) including and (ii) excluding VAT. [85713]

Yvette Cooper: The Home Condition Report (HCR) is similar to the existing mid-range survey on the market, The Homebuyers Survey and Valuation. In the current market these cost £400 on average (or £484.85 including VAT). The cost of the HCR will be determined by the market and this will depend, as now, on the size, condition and location of the property. However, we expect competition will push prices down. One provider has said they intend to provide Home Information Packs, including the Home condition Report, free of charge.

Housing

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to ensure high aesthetic standards in new housing developments; and what discussions she had with the Commission on Architecture and the Built Environment on this issue. [72424]


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Yvette Cooper: The Government have taken a number of steps to raise design standards, including for new housing developments. Planning policy and guidance has been strengthened to require good design. This has been backed by additional work to encourage innovation, to provide capacity building and support and to promote the take-up of good practice. We are now looking to see better delivery at the local level.

Our policy in “Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development” (PPS1) sets out general principles and policies for planning, and makes it clear that good design is indivisible from good planning. PPS1 needs to be taken into account by all planning authorities in the preparation of development plans and it may also be material to decisions on individual planning applications. The policy is supported by good practice guidance such as “By Design—better places to live and Safer Places—the Planning System and Crime Prevention”. We have also tested out new tools to help deliver quality developments, including piloting the use of Design Coding.

On 12 April 2006 I also announced additional measures to encourage good design. Most types of planning application will now have to be accompanied by a design and access statement. This will explain how high quality design and issues such as disabled access have been addressed in the proposal and more importantly help local planning authorities ensure new developments are of a high quality. This will give local communities a greater understanding of what is proposed, what might eventually be built and therefore a greater opportunity to contribute to the planning process.

The Government are also promoting innovation through a series of schemes, such as the Millennium Communities programme and the Design for Manufacture competition which has resulted in practical lessons for the house-building industry, including how to reduce construction costs while retaining high standards of quality as well as how to build houses at a high density. The competition also suggests further opportunities to cut costs and improve design for social housing, making it possible to build more homes.

Work continues to provide support and reward success, particularly through spreading of best practice and improving design skills. The Government support the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). Their work to promote the adoption of design champions within local authorities and at a senior level within the mass house builders, the design training programmes which they deliver, and their advice on specific development proposals are all making an important contribution to raising standards. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Housing Design Awards recognises those partnerships that have delivered exemplary housing developments, large and small.

To overcome skills barriers, the Government have recently established a new Academy for Sustainable Communities. This is working with others to deliver the cutting edge skills and knowledge to make better places for people now and in the future.


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CABE is the Government's advisor and champion for improving urban design, and therefore DCLG Ministers and officials meet with CABE for a variety of reasons. I hosted a seminar in February 2006 to discuss improving housing design quality, where CABE presented the findings of their recent Housing Audits. CABE are also closely involved in the development of the Thames Gateway Strategic Framework and presented progress on their work at a meeting I chaired on 13 July 2006.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 30 March 2006, Official Report, column 1214W, on housing, if she will list the funding streams contributing to the figure of £4.1 billion spent on housing capital investment in 2004-05. [73458]

Yvette Cooper: The £4.1 billion includes funding for: Arms Length Management Organisations, Disabled Facilities Grant, Major Repairs Allowance, Private Sector Housing Renewal, Local Authority Supported Capital Expenditure, Local Authority Capital Grants, Estate Action, Housing Action Trusts, Gap Funding, Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders and the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many households were registered homeless in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough in 1997; and how many households are registered homeless in (i) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (ii) Lewisham borough; [79160]

(2) how many households were in temporary accommodation in 1997 in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough; and how many households are currently in temporary accommodation in (i) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (ii) Lewisham borough; [79161]

(3) how many individuals are sleeping rough in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough. [79162]

Yvette Cooper: Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly, at local authority level. The constituency of Lewisham, Deptford is wholly contained within the London borough of Lewisham.

Only partial information was reported by Lewisham during 1997-98. The number of households reported as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need between 1998-99, and 2005-06, along with the reported number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by the council under homelessness legislation as the end of those years, is tabled as follows.

Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night. No count was undertaken by
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Lewisham prior to 1999, but figures for June 1999 and the latest available figures, for 2005, are also presented in the table.

The duty owed to a person accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.

Households accepted as homeless during the quarter, and households in temporary accommodation at the end of the quarter, in the London borough of Lewisham
Accepted as homeless( 1) In temporary accommodation( 2) Rough sleeping (persons)( 3)

1998-99

1,085

613

Not available

1999-2000

1,248

775

(4)2

2000-01

Not complete

Not available

(5)6

2001-02

1,102

Not available

(6)3

2002-03

1,170

1,243

(7)1

2003-04

1,502

1,640

(8)0

2004-05

1,245

1,847

(8)0

2005-06

1,097

2,284

(9)3

(1) All households eligible under homelessness legislation, found to be unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category, and consequently owed a main homelessness duty. (2) Households in accommodation at the end of the year (March) either pending a decision on their homelessness application or awaiting allocation of a settled home following acceptance. Excludes those households designated as “homeless at home” that have remained in their existing accommodation and have the same rights to suitable alternative accommodation as those in accommodation arranged by the authority. (3) Number of persons sleeping rough are based on local authority counts during the year and presented as a mid-year estimate. If no count takes place during the year an estimate is given by the local authority. (4 )Mid-year 1999. (5) Mid-year 2000. (6) Mid-year 2001. (7) Mid-year 2002. (8 )Estimate. (9) Mid-year 2005. Source: DCLG P1E Homelessness (quarterly) and HSSA (annual) returns.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was allocated per head of population by the Housing Corporation to (a) Yeovil constituency, (b) Somerset and (c) the south west in the last period for which figures are available. [82134]

Yvette Cooper: The table shows the funding per head based on allocations through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing programme for 2006 to 2008 in relation to 2004 mid year population estimates for the south west region and Somerset from the Office of National Statistics. Allocating within regions follow the recommendations of the Regional Housing Board as well as reflecting the quality of bids which come in from individual areas.


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Region 2004 mid year population estimates (ONS) Affordable housing programme allocated funding 2006 to 2008 (£ million) Funding per head (£)

South West

5,038,000

281

55.78

Somerset(1)

512,500

20.8

40.51

(1) Somerset includes Mendip district council, Sedgemoor district council, South Somerset district council, Taunton Deane borough council and West Somerset district council.

Information is not available at constituency level.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many psychiatric patients have been discharged from hospital into (a) temporary accommodation and (b) council housing in each London borough in each of the last five years. [87245]

Yvette Cooper: Although psychiatric patients should not be discharged as homeless, some may nevertheless self-discharge and not have accommodation available to them. People may be discharged to temporary accommodation as part of a plan agreed between mental health services and housing departments, but this is not recorded as part of routine monitoring,

Information collected by my Department about households accepted by local authorities as unintentionally homeless and in a priority need group identifies those where the applicant or a household member was vulnerable as a result of mental illness or disability. National results for years since 1997 are presented in table 4 of the quarterly Statistical Release on homelessness, first quarter of 2006, published on 12 June. However, information on the number of these who had been former psychiatric patients, and whether they were subsequently allocated temporary accommodation or a settled tenancy, is not available centrally.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to respond to the recommendations of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. [91083]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: The Government are already taking forward many of the recommendations of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. Its proposals are being fed into a series of progress of work including the Comprehensive Spending Review and the forthcoming planning policy statement on housing. We will also shortly be setting up a website on which we will post progress we are making towards improving access to affordable housing in rural areas and examples of best practice in the light of the Affordable Rural Housing Commissions report.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the Government has spent on building social housing; and how many new social housing units were completed in each of the last 20 years. [62115]

Yvette Cooper I have been asked to reply.


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