Previous Section Index Home Page

14 Nov 2007 : Column 329W—continued


14 Nov 2007 : Column 330W

Planning: West Northamptonshire Development Corporation

Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what scrutiny her Department has undertaken of planning decisions made by West Northamptonshire Development Corporation in the last 12 months; and what the results of that scrutiny were. [162263]

Mr. Dhanda: The Secretary of State determines a small number of planning applications each year under ‘call in’ and ‘recovered appeal’ procedures. There have been no such cases involving a decision by the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation since its development control powers came into effect in April 2006.

Six appeals involving refusal to grant planning permission by the corporation in the period since April 2006 have been determined by Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State. Details can be provided on request.

Regional Planning and Development: South East Region

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for ratification of the South East Regional Spatial Strategy; and what plans there are for subsequent reviews of it. [163886]

Mr. Dhanda: Consultation on the Secretary of State’s Proposed Changes for the draft Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the South East (The South East Plan) is likely to take place early in 2008, followed by publication of the final RSS later that year.

The Independent Panel that conducted the Examination in Public of the draft RSS has made recommendations regarding reviews of several parts of the Strategy. Those recommendations are currently being considered, and any reviews will be identified as part of the Secretary of State’s Proposed Changes.

Transport: Yorkshire and Humberside

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings the Regional Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber has had on funding for transport infrastructure in Yorkshire and the Humber since her appointment; and if she will make a statement. [162415]

Mr. Dhanda: My hon. Friend the Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber has engaged with a number of stakeholders and partners in the region, including the regional development agency, Members of this House and from local government, on a wide range of issues, including funding for transport infrastructure.

Travelling People

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to review legislation on itinerant travellers. [162026]


14 Nov 2007 : Column 331W

Mr. Iain Wright: The Government’s Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement has reviewed the operation of powers for dealing with unauthorised encampments (where Gypsies and Travellers camp on land they do not own) and taken evidence from local authorities and others. The group concluded in its interim report that, rather than making changes to these powers, help should be provided to ensure they are used more effectively. We will be working with the Local Government Association and Improvement and Development Association to achieve this.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legislation is in place to protect owners of land against illegal encampment by itinerant travellers; what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of that legislation; and whether she has had recent discussions with her counterpart in the Northern Ireland Assembly on this matter. [162909]

Mr. Iain Wright: There are a range of powers available to landowners, local authorities and the police to deal with unauthorised encampments, including common law powers, Part 55 Civil Procedures Rules, and sections 61-62, 62A-E and 77-78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Our Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement has reviewed the operation of enforcement powers and taken evidence from local authorities and others. The Group concluded in its interim report that, rather than making changes to these powers, help should be provided to ensure they are used more effectively. We will be working with the Local Government Association and Improvement and Development Association to achieve this.

No recent discussions have taken place with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Assembly on this issue.

Travelling People: Caravan Sites

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has given to (a) regional planning bodies and (b) local authorities on planning for more traveller sites. [163887]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Government’s statutory and policy framework on the provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites is set out in circular ODPM 1/06 “Planning for
14 Nov 2007 : Column 332W
Gypsy and Traveller Sites”, published in February 2006. This is accompanied by guidance on “Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments” (final version published October 2007).

The Department has also provided guidance to (a) Regional Planning Bodies “Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy reviews on Gypsies and Travellers by regional planning bodies”, which proposes a methodology for identifying pitch requirement at regional level based on Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments; and draft guidance to (b) local authorities on Gypsy and Traveller site design and management.

These publications can all be found on the Communities and Local Government website:

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria her Department uses to assess whether a local authority is required to plan to establish more authorised traveller sites. [163888]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Housing Act 2004 requires all local housing authorities to carry out an assessment of the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers residing in or resorting to their district as they are required to assess the accommodation needs of all citizens in its area. Regional Assemblies will consider the results of these assessments in setting out in Regional Spatial Strategies the number of pitches that must be provided in each local planning authority area.

Travelling People: Ireland

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of recent changes in factors affecting the number of itinerant travellers coming to Britain from Ireland. [162025]

Mr. Iain Wright: A “common travel area” is in place between the United Kingdom and Ireland, and therefore no record is kept of the movement of particular ethnic groups between the two countries.

Communities and Local Government publish data twice yearly on the number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans in England. Recent data do not indicate any unexpected or unexplained increases in the number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans.


    Index Home Page