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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role her Department has played in drafting the National Security Strategy; and if she will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether increased noise from an airport expanding in size or frequency of aircraft would be considered a material change by the Valuation Office Agency for the purposes of a council tax valuation. 
A proposal could validly be made seeking a reduction in the valuation band provided changes to the physical state of the locality have occurred which demonstrably affect property values, and that impact on value is sufficient to move the property into a lower band. Increases in frequency or
noise from aircraft alone, which are not connected with physical development of an airport, would not be viewed by the VOA as a valid basis for making a proposal.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) budget and (b) completion date was of the (i) future of building control, (ii) Councillors Commission, (iii) evaluation of Social HomeBuy, (iv) review of the future governance of the planning portal, (v) review of land use and (vi) review of shared equity projects. 
(i) Future of building control: (a) estimated budget is £42,400, excluding CLG staff costs, (b) The work was completed in February and the consultation paper will be published shortly.
(ii) Councillors Commission: (a) budget of £500,000, excluding CLG staff costs, (b) The Councillors Commission Report: Representing the Future was published on 10 December 2007.
(iii) Evaluation of Social HomeBuy: (a) estimated budget is £189,734, excluding CLG staff costs, (b) the work was completed on 15 February 2008 and the report will be published in due course.
(iv) Review of future governance of the planning portal: (a) overall budget is £250,000 excluding CLG staff costs, (b) Work is due to be completed by March 2008.
(v) Barker Review of land use planning: (a) estimated budget is £356,679. (b) the report was published on 5 December 2006.
(vi) Brian Pomeroys Review of the shared equity market: (a) estimated budget is £4,250; (b) the review is due to be completed in March.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will require the owners of sports grounds to obtain the agreement of the local planning authority before their land ceases to be used for sporting activities; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Unless there are relevant conditions attached to a planning permission for a sports ground, or specific requirements, for example in a covenant, there are no powers available to a local planning authority to require the owner to seek their agreement to cease using their land for sporting activities.
If it is proposed subsequently to develop the land, the developer would normally need to make an application to the local planning authority for planning permission. When considering the planning application, the local authority would need to have regard to the national planning policies including those in Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 (PPG 17) Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation. Paragraph 10 of PPG 17 states that
Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land should not be built on unless an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space or the buildings and land to be surplus to requirements.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1533W, on regional government: Ministers, on how many occasions each regional Minister has visited each of the constituencies in their region referred to in the answer. 
Mr. Dhanda: A table showing the number of Regional Minister visits to constituencies mentioned in the answer of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1533W has been deposited in the Library of the House. Some of these visits have taken place since the publication of the answer. In addition, regional Ministers have since made visits to constituencies not mentioned in the previous answer.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of regional Ministers against their stated objectives; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: While no formal assessment has yet been made of their effectiveness, Regional Ministers have been actively pursuing those roles set out for them in the Governance of Britain Green Paper published in July 2007. They have helped ensure that the development and delivery of Government policy takes account of the key issues facing their regions, both by engaging with a wide range of regional partners in meetings and dedicated visits and by representing their regions within Government. Regional Ministers have also been involved in the appointment of Regional Development Agency chairs and boards, while their relation to forthcoming regional committees will be determined over the coming months following the Modernisation Committee's inquiry into regional accountability.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost was of the East of England Regional Assemblys consultation on the draft revision to the Regional Spatial Strategy on the provision of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the East of England. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The East of England regional assemblys total budget for 2007-08 for consultation on the Regional Spatial Strategy Single Issue Review: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the East of England (February 2008) was £30,000. This comprised £20,000 to commission the Ormiston Trust to consult Gypsy and Traveller communities, £5,000 for printing and distributing hard copies of the consultation documents and £5,000 for six county-wide consultation events. The precise figures spent on the Single Issue Review will be
established after the end of this financial year. In addition, there were costs of £9,000 for the Sustainability Appraisal which was conducted on the Single Issue Review.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the projected cost is of GO Easts consultation on the Regional Spatial Strategy Single Issue Review: planning for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the East of England. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The projected budget for GO-Easts consultation on the Regional Spatial Strategy Single Issue Review: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the East of England is approximately £7,000. This comprises £6,000 for consultation software, with the remainder due to costs associated with holding two consultation events.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the factors to which local planning authorities and regional planning bodies must have regard as set out in paragraph 33 of Planning Policy Statement 3 (Housing), what the (a) remit and (b) scope is of her Department's study of the level of housing development in the West Midlands; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: My noble friend Baroness Andrews has asked the Government office for the West Midlands (GOWM) to commission further work to inform the Examination in Public of the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) Phase 2 revision. This study will look at options which could deliver higher housing numbers with a view to improving affordability within the region. The study will be submitted as evidence to the independent panel at the Examination in Public of the Phase 2 RSS revision for testing.
The scope of the study, as stated in the brief for the work, is to develop and appraise alternative options for accommodating housing and associated growth above the levels in the submitted draft Phase 2 RSS Revision. The options should be capable of delivering the levels of housing suggested in the initial National Housing and Planning Advice Unit response to the Housing Green Paper but should maintain as many of the key principles of the RSS as possible.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the implications for the protection of (a) greenfield sites and (b) green belt land in the West Midlands of the planned level of housing development (i) set out in the West Midlands Spatial Strategy and (ii) most recently proposed. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has appointed an independent panel to consider the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) Phase 2 revision which sets out planned levels of housing development for the West Midlands. In addition, my noble Friend Baroness Andrews has requested the Government office for the West Midlands to commission work to look at housing options which could deliver higher housing numbers than those set out in the Phase 2 Revision.
The implications of both the Phase 2 revision and the options generated through the study on both greenfield sites and green belt land will be issues the Panel will need to consider at Examination. At this stage, it is inappropriate for the Secretary of State to comment on emerging proposals for housing development and the evidence underpinning these in advance of the Examination in Public as these matters need to be independently tested. Furthermore, as the Secretary of State has a statutory role in the issuing of the final RSS, any comments at this stage on the merits of emerging proposals could prejudice her future decision-making role.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber next plans to meet Yorkshire Forward to discuss Government funding for transport infrastructure in Yorkshire and the Humber; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: I understand that my right hon. Friend the Regional Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber has already met with Yorkshire Forward on at least four occasions since her appointment on 25 January 2008 and will continue to meet with them on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of issues relevant to the economic development of the region, including transport.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many disputes arising out of secure deposits schemes were taken to court by tenants or their representatives in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average duration of arbitration on disputes on secure deposit schemes was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, under the terms of their contacts with my Department, each provider for the Deposit Protection Service must submit a monthly report giving details of performance against key performance indicators. The providers incur penalty points if key targets are not met. Resolution of disputes within stated timescales (currently 28 days) is one of the key performance indicators used in this way. Monthly monitoring returns up to end February 2008 have been received. So far, I can confirm that performance has been good with each scheme delivering in full against the indicator.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many tree preservation order appeals are under consideration by her Department; and how many are awaiting a site visit. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 7 March 2008]: There are approximately 400 appeals against local authority decisions in respect of proposed work to trees protected by tree preservation orders. 300 are currently awaiting a site visit.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the tree preservation order appeal submitted by Ms Sonya Stringer of Christchurch to be determined; and what the reasons are for the time taken for the determination to be completed. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 7 March 2008]: An Inspecting Officer will carry out a site visit on 19 March 2008 and a decision on the appeal will be made within 16 weeks of that date. This case has been delayed because not all of the necessary papers were initially available.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what visits the Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber has made to each constituency in Yorkshire and the Humber since appointment; and if she will make a statement. 
|The right hon. Member for Doncaster, Central from 27 January to 6 March 2008|
|Constituency||Number of visits|
|The right hon. Member for Don Valley from 2 July 2007 to 26 January 2008|
|Constituency||Number of visits|
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