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Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the Minister for Housing to reply to the letter of 1 August 2007 from the right hon. Member for West Chelmsford; what the reasons are for the time taken to reply; and if she will make a statement 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the proposed Office for Tenants and Social Landlords will (a) set and (b) monitor performance targets for (i) local authorities and (ii) housing associations. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Housing and Regeneration Bill before Parliament permits the proposed Office for Tenants and Social Landlords (OFTENANT) to set standards covering a range of functions relating to social housing owned by providers registered with it and to collect information from registered providers.
It will be for OFTENANT to determine which standards are set and how they are monitored, subject to its own objectives, which include ensuring protection of tenants and minimising regulatory interference. Professor Martin Cave's review of social housing regulation, published in June 2007, envisaged that registered bodies might develop own codes of conduct which they would monitor themselves, with the regulator collecting basic performance information.
These provisions will apply to all housing associations which are currently registered with the Housing Corporation. They do not apply to local authorities, but the Government have announced their intention to extend the scope of the regulator to local authority landlords and Arms Length Management Organisations within two years of OFTENANT's creation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report,
column 139, on planning, if she will place in the Library copies of all correspondence and documentation relating to the Durham Green Business Park planning application and development, held by (a) her Department and (b) the Government Office for the North East. 
The Durham Green Business Park planning proposal was nominated by the local authority (Durham city council) for inclusion in the pilot for Planning Delivery Agreements (PDAs, which have since been renamed to Planning Performance Agreements) and all nominations were accepted. This pilot was run jointly by the Planning Advisory Service (part of the Improvement and Development Agency), and the Advisory Team on Large Applications (part of English Partnerships). Neither of these bodies have any role in determining the outcome of planning applications. PDAs are not about determining applications but about ensuring efficient working processes on a local level when dealing with large or complex projects. Ministers were not involved in the selection of proposals for the pilot. All documentation relating to the Durham Green Business Park held by the Planning Advisory Service has been placed in the Library today.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations her Department has received from (a) representatives of Durham Green Developments Ltd. and (b) Mr. David Abrahams in relation to planning in the last 36 months. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the development of the Durham Green Business Park, near south Durham, entails development on green belt land according to the records held by (a) her Department and (b) the Government Office for the North East. 
Ms Hewitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when her Department last reviewed the guidelines or regulations on how local councils communicate with residents about planning applications affecting their neighbourhood; 
(2) if she will encourage local authorities to make full use of the internet to enable interested local residents to be informed by e-mail of any planning application made within their neighbourhood; 
Mr. Iain Wright: Article 8 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order (the GDPO) 1995 sets out the duties of local planning authorities to publicise the planning applications they receive in order to invite comments on development proposals from third parties. Guidance on those duties is provided by Department of the Environment Circular 15/92, Publicity for Planning Applications.
The GDPO requires the local planning authority to publicise planning applications, either by a site notice or by notification to neighbours. In addition, local advertisement in a newspaper is required for applications for planning permission for major applications which is defined as minerals applications, waste development, the provision of dwellings (where more than 10 provided or site is 0.5 ha or over), a building with floor space of 1,000 m(2) or over, development on a site of 1 ha or over, and also listed building consent and conservation area consent. Local planning authorities may also use their websites to publicise planning applications.
In June 2004, the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the report Review of the Publicity Requirements for Planning Applications evaluating the effectiveness of publicity requirements.
We are encouraging local planning authorities to use the internet to notify residents of planning applications by constructing an e-Consultation Hub to be run by the Planning Portal. It is envisaged that citizens will be able to register their interest and be notified of any applications in their area, and then respond (if they wish to) online direct to the local planning authority.
We have also given a commitment in the Planning White Paper that the hub will be constructed and come into operation by April 2008. However, in the first instance, the service will link statutory consultees and local planning authorities, with citizen services being implemented soon after.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans the Government Office for the South East has to (a) review and (b) designate Areas of Great Landscape Value in local development frameworks; and what guidance her Department has provided on this. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The Government Office for the South-East has no plans to review or designate Areas of Great Landscape Value in local development
frameworks. These are local rather than national designations which have been created by local planning authorities. Government guidance on local landscape designations is provided in Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS7): Sustainable Development in Rural Areas. This advises that local landscape designations should be maintained only or, exceptionally, extended where it can be clearly shown that criteria-based planning policies cannot provide the necessary protection. PPS7 also states that, when reviewing their local area-wide development plans and local development documents, planning authorities should rigorously consider the justification for retaining existing local landscape designations. They should ensure that such designations are based on a formal and robust assessment of the qualities of the landscape concerned.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy that no regional spatial strategy approved by her will entail (a) developments on the green belt and (b) reviews of the green belt with a view to development. 
Mr. Dhanda: National policy on green belt is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: Green Belts. One of the principles of the policy is that, where necessary, green belt boundaries are strategically reviewed. Boundaries can be changed only in exceptional circumstances and after public consultation and examination through the plan process. The Regional Spatial Strategy is the appropriate setting for strategic green belt reviews to be considered, with detailed boundaries being a matter for local authorities.
"no net change, or an increase, in the area of designated Green Belt land in each region."
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of mosques in the UK which are funded by groups or organisations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Government do not hold information on the number of mosques in the UK funded by groups or organisations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Government are working with a range of partners to further develop their understanding of Muslim communities in the UK and their infrastructure.
Mr. Dhanda: The Government do not hold information on the number of mosques in the UK or their denominations. The Government are working with a range of partners to further develop their understanding of Muslim communities in the UK and their infrastructure.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of imams in the UK who were (a) born in Saudi Arabia and (b) educated or trained in Saudi Arabia. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Government do not hold information on the number of imams in the UK who were born in Saudi Arabia or educated/trained in Saudi Arabia. The Government are working with a range of partners to further develop their understanding of Muslim communities in the UK and their infrastructure.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much Right to Buy capital was set aside in each year since the scheme started; and to what extent each local authority has used set-aside capital to repay historical debt. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Under the set-aside' regime, which ran until 1 April 2004, with-debt local authorities were required to set aside a proportion of the capital receipt generated by the disposal of a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) asset, upon disposal of that asset, for repayment of housing debt. Debt-free authorities were free to use their receipts for any capital purpose they saw fit.
The Department recorded the value of capital receipts set-aside and continues to record the value of Right to Buy (RTB) sales. However, these are separate exercises. The manner in which the data are collected means that no differentiation is made between RTB sales and other disposals of housing assets resulting in a capital receipt that goes to make up that set-aside total for a local authority.
The following table shows the value of capital receipts set-aside from 1995-96 to 2003-04 (the last year in which the set-aside regime existed). When set-aside exceeds RTB capital receipts it is because set-aside includes a proportion of receipts from not only RTB but also whole-stock transfers, non-RTB dwelling sales and sales of other HRA assets such as housing land.
|Set-aside||Right to buy receipts|
|(1) No data.|
The Department does not collect data on whether local authorities actually used the set-aside generated by disposals to repay housing debt. For the purposes of HRA subsidy it was assumed that the set-aside was used to repay housing debt.
Ms Hewitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the proposals from Leicester city council for a sustainable community at Ashton Green; what support her Department will make available to Leicester city council in respect of this development; and what steps it will take to help Leicester city council secure an element of affordable housing within the development. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Proposals for housing development at Ashton Green first came before the Secretary of State as an allocation in the 1991 to 2001 Leicester Local Plan, and subsequently in the 1996 to 2016 Replacement Leicester Local Plan. The Secretary of State enabled that proposal to emerge through the statutory planning process, culminating in the adoption of the current City of Leicester Local Plan in January 2006.
Ashton Green formed part of the evidence supporting the 6Cs (formerly three cities) Growth Point Bid submitted to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning early in 2006. The viability of those proposals, supported by the adopted status of the Ashton Green allocation, was confirmed in October 2006 with the award of Growth Point status to the 6Cs partnership, which includes Leicester city council.
Further details of the Ashton Green sustainable community were submitted to the Department as evidence supporting the 6Cs program of development in October 2007. That document made the case for Growth Point funding for the 6Cs that is currently under consideration by the Department: an announcement on funding to all Growth Points will be made in the near future. Growth Point funding is to be awarded as a block grant, so it will be a matter for local partners, including Leicester city council, to determine how to use any funds to support their growth aspirations at Ashton Green and elsewhere.
I met with the Deputy Leader of Leicester city council on 13 November 2007 to discuss affordable housing issues, including the city council's aspirations for Ashton Green. I invited Leicester city to discuss the potential of forming a local housing company as proposed in the July 2007 Housing White Paper Homes for the Future; more affordable, more sustainable, with my officials. As the owner of the land at Ashton Green, Leicester city council is well placed to secure a high proportion of affordable housing on this site through such a delivery vehicle.
The Department's agency English Partnerships also met with Leicester city council in November to discuss the potential of Ashton Green to act as a demonstration site for eco-homes, with the benefit of technical support from English Partnerships and their acknowledged expertise in this area.
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