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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her policy is on the provision of adventure playgrounds or play facilities designed for pupils with additional learning needs. 
Mr. Woolas: Planning Policy Guidance 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation provides the framework within which local authorities meet the differing and distinctive needs of local communities for recreational facilities and open spaces. This includes the provision of play areas for all children.
The cross-Government Cleaner Safer Greener Communities programme supports the provision of quality public spaces that can be used by all members of the community. In 2003 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now the Department for Communities and Local Government) published Developing accessible play space: a good practice guide.
Within schools the provision of specialised play equipment for pupils with additional learning needs is a matter for the Department for Education and Skills. Kidsactive receives grant funding from the DfES to deliver its Playwork Inclusion Project (PIP) to increase the numbers of disabled children being included in play out of school settings.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will publish the minutes of the meetings between her officials and Anglian Water on 19 September 2005 concerning projected water supplies to new housing; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The meeting was arranged by Anglian Water, at which the company gave officials a detailed briefing of its plans for meeting increased demand from housing growth in its area of operation over the next 30 years. No minutes of the meeting were taken. However, Anglian Water has given evidence to the Examination in Public for the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the Better Regulation Task Force report, Better Regulation for Civil SocietyMaking life easier for those who help others (November 2005). 
Several recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Forces report have already been implemented, and work is under way on implementing some of the reports other recommendations and taking forward areas for further work. We expect to publish the Governments response to the report later this month.
Yvette Cooper: For Barnsley, the current regional target for homes to be built on previously developed land is 49 per cent. of the annual average (810) set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy. The figures for the number of homes built on brownfield sites are not readily available for the whole of the period 1997 to 2000. The following figures are taken from Barnsley's 2005 Local Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report. Percentages are rounded up where appropriate:
|Number||Percentage of the annual average|
For Doncaster, the current regional target for homes to be built on previously developed land is 70 per cent. of the annual average (735) set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy. The following figures are taken from Doncaster's 2005 Local Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report. Percentages are rounded up where appropriate.
|Number||Percentage of the annual average|
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether developers will have a right of appeal against a decision of a failure to comply with the 2006 building regulations if their planning application (a) has not been determined within the appropriate timescale and (b) is determined after April 2006. 
Angela E. Smith [holding answer 13 September 2006]: The introduction of the amended regulations on Part L (conservation of fuel and power) on 6 April 2006 had no effect on the various rights of appeal available to developers under the Building Act 1984.
When there is a dispute between a local authority and a developer over whether plans comply with building regulations, the developer may apply to the Secretary of State under section 16(10) of the Act for a determination. Alternatively, in certain circumstances a developer can apply to the local authority to dispense with or relax a requirement of the building regulations on the grounds that its operation would be unreasonable in the particular case. If the local authority refuses such an application the developer may appeal to the Secretary of State under section 39 of the Act.
However, a local authority cannot relax or dispense with the requirements of Part L in relation to renovations of existing buildings over 1,000m(2), or in any case the requirements of regulation 17C (target CO2 emission rates for new buildings).
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she has given to amending the building regulations to include security requirements for new homes. 
Angela E. Smith: The Building Act was amended to allow building regulations to be made for furthering the prevention or detection of crime in 2004. Since then we have considered the most appropriate way of improving the security of buildings. We are proposing to include security in the Code for Sustainable Homes, which will be launched later this year. This has the advantage of not taking as long to develop as a regulation, but will not be mandatory. We will monitor the take-up of the security section of the Code, and review the need for a building regulation in due course.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the implications for small UK businesses of the proposal being considered by Sir Michael Lyons to allow local authorities to set the level of business rates. 
Sir Michael Lyons is due to submit the report of his independent inquiry into local government funding, form and functions to my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer in December 2006. We will consider his recommendations carefully once we have received his report.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was collected by her Department in business rates within the City of Westminster in each of the last five financial years; and what level of grant was awarded by her Department to Westminster city council for the provision of vital local government services in each year. 
Mr. Woolas: The City of Westminsters contribution to the national non-domestic rate pool between 2001-02 and 2005-06 is shown in the following table. Also shown is the level of Formula Grant given to the City of Westminster in the same period.
|Contribution to national non-domestic rate pool||Formula Grant|
Formula Grant comprises Revenue Support Grant, National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) and principal Police Grant (not applicable here). The Formula Grant data for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 are after the amending report.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to reduce the time taken to process compulsory purchase orders referred to her Department by local authorities. 
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 included a number of provisions to assist in the more rapid processing of compulsory purchase orders, including the power for acquiring authorities to be allowed to confirm their own orders if they are unopposed and certain other criteria are fulfilled, and a power for all types of compulsory purchase orders to be confirmed in stages where appropriate so that progress can be made on one part of a scheme despite there being reasons why the order
cannot yet be confirmed in respect of another part of the order land. The Act also enabled the introduction of written representations procedure for dealing with objections to compulsory purchase orders as a quicker alternative to holding a public inquiry.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will assess the merits of enabling residential homes for the elderly to be assessed collectively for council tax purposes. 
Mr. Woolas: Since 1 January 2004, units of self-contained living accommodation within care homes (within the meaning of the Care Standards Act 2000, in respect of which a person is registered in accordance with Part 2 of that Act) in England have been treated as comprising a single dwelling for council tax purposes, except that any accommodation provided for the registered person is banded separately.
A very large majority of respondents to the Governments 2003 consultation on making this change in the council tax treatment of care homes supported the proposals. No respondents suggested that similar rules should also be applied to other residential homes not falling within the definition above, and we have no plans to change the current rules.
Mr. Woolas: The Government welcome local authority initiatives to encourage householders to reduce energy consumption. We said in the Energy Review, published in July 2006, that we would set out proposals that provide a framework to encourage all local authorities to take action on climate change, in the Local Government White Paper later this year.
Most local authority council tax discount schemes are at any early stage, and my Department has made no assessment of their effectiveness in encouraging householders to make their homes more energy- efficient.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the cost of rebilling as a result of capping in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. 
The capped authorities provided estimated rebilling costs as part of the documentation
accompanying their challenge to the maximum budget requirement proposed by the Secretary of State. These totalled:
2005-06: £661,147 - £781,147
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the reduction in revenue as a consequence of in-year capping in each capped local authority in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. 
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many foreign nationals married to students have been granted exemption from paying council tax in (a) each local authority in Shropshire and (b) England in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07. 
Mr. Woolas: Dwellings occupied only by school leavers, students, or students and their partners or dependants, not being British citizens and being prevented by the terms of their leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom from taking paid employment or from claiming benefits, are exempt from council tax under Class N of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992. The Department does not hold figures for the number of dwellings that fall to be exempt under Class N because they are occupied solely by non-British spouses and their student partners, independently of data on the number of dwellings falling to be exempt under Class N as a whole.
Where a non-British partner of a student meeting the criteria above lives in a household with non-students or any other non-disregarded person they are disregarded for the purposes of calculating the households bill. The number of non-British partners counted as being disregarded, and reported by local authorities to the Department for Communities and Local Government on the CTB1(S) forms, in (a) each local authority in Shropshire and (b) England as at (i) 1 November 2004 and (ii) 10 October 2005 are shown in the following table. The data for 2006 are not yet available.
|1 November 2004||10 October 2005|
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