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15 Jun 2007 : Column 1340W—continued

Housing: Low Incomes

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total cost has been to run the Design for Manufacture competition since its inception; and how many of the resulting houses she expects to be sold for £60,000. [128191]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 19 March 2007]: English Partnerships are running the Design for Manufacture competition on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government. All English Partnerships' costs are expected to be balanced out by receipts of more than £50 million from the sale of the land. This exceeds the reserve price across this portfolio of sites by more than £3 million.

The competition involved additional costs compared to ordinary site disposals. These costs are for specialist technical advice to ensure the quality of these innovative homes (£470,000), for monitoring and evaluation to learn lessons from the construction phase (£70,000) and for research and information (£136,400). This latter category includes holding a public exhibition attended by over 5,000 people and circulating some 30,000 copies of the document setting out the lessons learnt so far from the competition.

Part of the competition involved a target construction cost of £60,000 for a high-quality 76.5 sq metre home, with larger and smaller homes being built at a similar cost-efficiency. The competition is creating 10 new mixed communities developments with homes of different sizes and tenures to suit families and single people. Overall, 50 per cent. of the homes being provided will be affordable, including shared ownership/equity, social housing, low cost home ownership and other supported housing such as for the elderly.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes (Mr. Lancaster) on 6 March 2007, Official Report, column 1890W, which set out precise details of one of the sites in the competition.

The other nine sites are at different stages of construction and are spread around the country. The prices of the units for sale will reflect the land value, the local market at the time they go on sale and the equity share as well as the construction cost. In total only about half the homes will be for sale at full market price.

Based on current sales prices we anticipate that on every site where homes are being sold, there will be homes available at shared ownership or shared equity stakes of between £60,000 and £70,000. The exception is on the Hastings site where all the homes will be for affordable rent.

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether tests of affordability for homes to rent or buy are required to take account of local levels of household income. [141748]

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Yvette Cooper: The definition of affordable housing for planning purposes established by “Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing” and the accompanying guidance “Delivering Affordable Housing” includes the requirement that affordable housing should:

What this means is that, in considering whether a home falls within the definition of ‘affordable housing’ or not, local authorities are required to assess whether or not the home is affordable to those eligible for such housing. One of the factors used in this assessment must be levels of local household incomes.

Housing: Northamptonshire

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her estimate is of the likely number of additional dwellings to be located in (a) Northamptonshire, (b) North Northamptonshire and (c) Wellingborough in each of the next 20 years. [141600]

Yvette Cooper: As set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8), the annual average housing provision for the period 2001 to 2021, split into five year periods, is as follows:

Northamptonshire ( 1)
P er annum









(1 )Excludes the Northampton figure quashed as a result of a high court challenge. This figure is being reviewed as part of the Revision to the Regional Spatial Strategy.

North Northamptonshire
P er annum









P er annum









The housing figures beyond 2021 to 2026 are currently being assessed through the Revision to the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands.

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will visit Wellingborough and Kettering to discuss future housing and infrastructure developments with members of local communities. [142220]

Angela E. Smith [holding answer 12 June 2007]: The Secretary of State has no plans at present to visit Wellingborough and Kettering.

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However, my noble Friend, Baroness Andrews, chairs the Milton Keynes South Midlands Inter-Regional Board which gives the opportunity for discussions relating to sustainable housing and infrastructure developments on an on-going basis. The community is represented at these meeting by members from local authorities across the Milton Keynes and south midlands area.

Housing: Surveys

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 20 April 2007, Official Report, column 794W, on housing: surveys, what obligations residents in (a) private housing and (b) social housing are under to allow a property inspection to be undertaken as part of the English House Condition Survey. [141759]

Ruth Kelly: Participation in the English House Condition Survey is entirely voluntary for all householders regardless of their tenure. Addresses are selected at random and householders are contacted through a letter from our contractors, the Office for National Statistics, and invited to take part in both an initial household interview and in the follow-up property inspection.


Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to extend consultation on the draft national policy statements for infrastructural planning proposals in England to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where there is a potential impact on those areas arising from the proposals. [142444]

Yvette Cooper: Chapter 10 of the white paper “Planning for a Sustainable Future” (Cm 7120) sets out our proposals in relation to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government intends that any national policy statements for air transport and for energy would be developed for the whole of Great Britain or the UK as appropriate. These policies would be developed with the full involvement of the devolved Administrations and the consultation proposed in Chapter 3 of the white paper would encompass the whole of Great Britain or the UK. Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Ministers would be statutory consultees in the development of relevant national policy statements.

Planning Permission

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation will be conducted in communities on planning applications under the Planning Bill. [142463]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 14 June 2007]: The planning White Paper, “Planning for a Sustainable Future” proposes a three stage system for nationally significant infrastructure projects, with opportunities for public engagement at each stage.

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There would be national consultation on the country’s infrastructure needs. The Government would consult the public on national policy statements, which would be scrutinised by Parliament. Promoters would be required to consult the public before submitting a planning application, allowing local communities to influence a promoter’s proposals early on. At the examination stage, direct questioning and a new open floor stage would help members of the public engage on a more equal footing with the professional advocates who currently dominate the process.

Planning: Use Classes Order

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to publish her review into use Classes Order legislation; and if she will make a statement. [142185]

Yvette Cooper: We have no plans to undergo a full scale review of the Use Classes Order.

We are looking at the operation of the Use Classes Order in some areas where concerns have been raised, such as around houses of multiple occupation. We have not set a timetable for this work.

Prisons: Planning Permission

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what planning guidelines apply to the expansion of prisons; and in what circumstances they have permitted development rights. [141875]

Ruth Kelly: Local planning authorities have been encouraged to make adequate provision for new prison developments through the planning system by means of DETR Circular 03/98 “Planning for Future Prison Development”. For extensions to existing prisons, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has access to the permitted development rights in Part 34 (Development by the Crown) of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (SI 1995 No 418 as amended). The main restrictions to the permitted development right are that any extensions may not exceed 25 per cent. of the cubic content or 1,000 square metres of the floor area of the existing building (reducing to 10 per cent. of the cubic content or 500 square metres of the floor area in certain sensitive landscape areas and conservation areas). NOMS may also use other general permitted development rights for minor works.

Regeneration: Mining

Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of regeneration schemes in coalfield communities. [141441]

Yvette Cooper: Considerable progress has been made over the past 10 years revitalising the former English coalfields, raising aspirations in these communities through regeneration, education and job creation. People are being given access to the skills and jobs they need, the environmental legacy of the coal industry is
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being cleaned up and the housing, economic and social needs of the local communities are being addressed. The English Partnership’s Coalfield Programme; the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Coalfields Enterprise Fund, are delivering real change with combined budgets of over £0.5 billion. A recent independent evaluation of the Department’s coalfield specific regeneration programmes available at:, gave strong support to the approach we have taken and confirmed the effectiveness of these programmes.

Regional Government: Offices

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which English regional chambers have offices located outside the United Kingdom. [141821]

Yvette Cooper: All eight regional assemblies have use of office facilities in Brussels. These facilities are shared with other regional partners.

Service Charges

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the evidential basis is for her statement that capping leaseholder service charges for ex-council flats would cost £40 million; what timescale that cost was estimated to arise over; and whether there is a distinction between the costs of (a) resident and (b) buy-to-rent leaseholders in the estimates made. [134207]

Yvette Cooper: The statement is based on the results of a survey conducted in March 2007 on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government by London Councils, the representative body of the London boroughs. No distinction was made between resident and buy-to-rent leaseholders.

Culture, Media and Sport

Alcoholic Drinks: Licensing

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many alcohol licences have been revoked in each London borough since November 2005. [142774]

Mr. Woodward: We do not currently hold this information centrally. The Licensing Act 2003 devolved the administration for licensing to individual licensing authorities who should hold information about licensed premises in their area.

DCMS plans a data collection exercise over the summer to gather this, and other licensing information. Results will be published in the form of a new National Statistics bulletin, currently scheduled for release in October 2007.

Broad estimates collated by the department in November 2006, based on a small sample of licensing authorities, suggested that following review, approximately 100 licences had been revoked across England and Wales in the first year under the new Licensing Act.

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Cultural Heritage: Ownership

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department's policy is on whether cultural objects seized from (a) Germany and (b) other countries after the second world war by the Soviet Union are Russian property following the passing of the 1998 Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the USSR by the Russian Parliament. [142782]

Mr. Lammy: The effect of the Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the USSR 1998 on the ownership of cultural objects situated in Russia is a question of Russian law, whether the objects in question come from Germany or other countries. It is not a matter of departmental policy. If an issue was raised in relation to the applicable law of a foreign country in legal proceedings in this country, it would be regarded as a question of fact, to be determined by the judge with the assistance of appropriate expert evidence.

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which (a) organisations and (b) individuals responded to her Department's consultation on the restitution of cultural objects spoliated in the Nazi era. [142783]

Mr. Lammy: The organisations and individuals who responded to the consultation are as follows:

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