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19 May 2008 : Column 41W—continued

Fire Safety: Construction Methods

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 397W, on fire safety: construction methods, if she will meet the Association of British Insurers to discuss section 4.4 of its Technical Briefing on Fire Performance of Sandwich Panel Systems (2003) and the combustibility of composite core panels which have passed the insurance industry standard LPS 1181. [205761]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Association of British Insurers' Technical Briefing and the LPS 1181 test standard are not utilised within the guidance that supports the fire safety aspects of the Building Regulations or the
19 May 2008 : Column 42W
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and they are not of direct relevance to the Department's work. No such meeting, therefore, is needed at this time.

Fire Safety: Warehouses

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received on the use of sprinklers as fire resistors in warehousing facilities; and if she will make a statement. [205775]

Mr. Iain Wright: The recent review of the fire safety aspects of the building regulations looked at the case for sprinklers in warehouses. We undertook supporting research on the issue and a full public consultation. Following consultation, it was decided that a limit for the maximum unsprinklered compartment size for single storey warehouses should be set at 20,000m(2) and/or a height of 18m where previously no such limit existed. This new maximum compartment size was included in the 2006 edition of Approved Document B which came into effect in April 2007.

Since then we have had a number of representations suggesting that this maximum compartment size should be reduced such that smaller warehouse buildings would also be provided with sprinkler protection. However, we have no plans to revisit this part of the building regulations in the near future.

Heating: EC Law

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the proposed labelling of heating systems in the Energy-using Products Directive. [206453]

Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government officials are in ongoing discussions about the proposed labelling of heating systems in the energy-using products directive with their opposite numbers in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Officials are also in discussion with counterparts in the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs who are leading negotiations on the Directive with the European Commission.

Housing

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been (a) built, (b) placed on sale and (c) sold through (i) Social HomeBuy, (ii) New Build HomeBuy, (iii) Open Market HomeBuy and (iv) the First Time Buyer Initiative in each region in England since 1st April 2006. [204262]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 8 May 2008]: The following tables show the homes provided for 2006-08 by region for Social HomeBuy, Open Market HomeBuy, New Build HomeBuy and the First Time Buyers Initiative.


19 May 2008 : Column 43W
Social HomeBuy
Sold

North-east

9

North-west

38

Yorkshire and the Humber

18

East midlands

5

West midlands

6

East

4

London

103

South-east

22

South-west

2

Total

207

Note:
Social HomeBuy is a demand led product for social tenants to buy their own home. Some participating landlords are offering the scheme widely across their stock. Others are targeting specific estates, locations or local authority areas. We estimate that the pilot scheme which ran from April 2006 to March 2008 and resulted in 207 sales was offered across 5 per cent. of social stock.
Source:
Housing Corporation Investment Management System

Open Market HomeBuy
Sold

North-east

12

North-west

255

Yorkshire and the Humber

128

East midlands

122

West midlands

282

East

732

London

1,615

South-east

1,808

South-west

429

Total

5,383

Note:
Open Market HomeBuy enables purchasers to buy on the Open Market.
Source:
Housing Corporation Investment Management System

Provided( 1) Placed on sale( 2)

North-east

206

206

North-west

1,629

1,629

Yorkshire and the Humber

696

696

East midlands

2,111

2,111

West midlands

1,990

1,990

East

2,981

2,981

London

8,335

8,335

South-east

5,819

5,819

South-west

2,142

2,142

Total

25,909

25,909

(1) This can be both new build and acquisition and refurbishment.
(2) Placed on sale means that RSLs have completed the home and the final grant payment has been made. The Corporation's Investment Management System does not have comprehensive information on which properties have been sold by region for each RSL.
Source:
Housing Corporation Investment Management System


19 May 2008 : Column 44W
First time buyers initiative/London wide initiative
Provided( 1) Placed on sale( 2) Sold( 3)

North-east

104

69

24

North-west

359

253

48

Yorkshire and the Humber

116

116

92

East midlands

157

144

0

West midlands

257

189

126

East

237

162

23

London

770

627

240

South-east

529

444

251

South-west

304

304

95

Total

2,741

2,216

827

(1) Provided means: contracted i.e. a legal agreement has been completed with a house builder or RSL to deliver a target number of FTBI homes.
(2) Placed on sale means: the house builder/RSL and HomeBuy Agent market the homes. There is often a time lag between completion of the legal agreement and marketing because homes cannot be offered for sale if the expected time between exchange of contracts and sale completion is more than 12 months. The majority of FTBI homes are sold “off-plan”.
(3) Sold means: First Time Buyer sales completions. This excludes reservations and exchange of contracts. Details of the latter categories can be provided if requested.
Source:
English Partnerships

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average equity in (a) percentage and (b) cash terms purchased by a homeowner under the (a) Social Market Homebuy, (b) New Build Homebuy and (c) Open Market Homebuy schemes has been since each such scheme was established. [204576]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is only available for 2006-07 and is in the following table. For social homebuy and new build homebuy sales, the table shows the average equity purchased by the homeowner.

Average equity purchased by the homeowner in percentage and cash terms, 2006-07
Type of sale Average equity purchased (Percentage) Average equity purchased (£)

New Build Homebuy

47

79,446

Social Homebuy

56

120,372


For open market homebuy sales where the purchaser buys 100 per cent. of the property with the help of an equity loan, the following table shows the average equity loan provided to the homeowner.

Average equity loan provided to the homeowner in percentage and cash terms, 2006-07
Type of sale Average equity loan provided (Percentage) Average equity loan provided (£)

Open Market Homebuy

22

32,003

Source:
CORE new sales log.

Housing: Low Incomes

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the outcome of the shared-equity competition was restricted to a single mortgage lender. [201813]


19 May 2008 : Column 45W

Caroline Flint: It is not the case that the Housing Corporation’s National Affordable Housing Programme (2008-11) Open Market HomeBuy products are restricted to a single mortgage lender.

There are two products available providing equity loans of up to 50 per cent. enabling individuals to purchase a home on the open market. Purchasers through MyChoice HomeBuy can select a mortgage from participating lenders and purchasers through Ownhome can choose from the full range of Co-op mortgage products, and can re- mortgage with another qualifying lending institution, in accordance with the terms of the initial mortgage agreement.

I recently met with the Council of Mortgage Lenders who assured me that they will continue to support the availability of products compatible with shared equity schemes and of their commitment to ensuring the market remained open and competitive for first-time buyers, within the constraints of the wider financial market environment.

Housing: Regional Planning and Development

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to designate further Growth Points. [202559]

Caroline Flint: A second round of the growth point programme was announced in the Housing Green Paper in July 2007. We have received nearly 30 expressions of interest for additional growth points, which are currently being assessed.

Housing: Renewable Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) for what reasons she has struck out the requirement for 10 per cent. on-site renewable energy in all major new developments from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy; [165297]

(2) what her Department’s assessment is of the effect of ending the application of the existing Merton rule in the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy on those individual local planning authorities wishing to use the rule; [165298]

(3) what her reasons were for not accepting the independent panel's recommendations that Yorkshire and the Humber should have a minimum region-wide 10 per cent. on-site renewables planning requirement for all major new developments. [165299]

Mr. Dhanda: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 15 October 2007, Official Report, columns 806-61W, which confirmed that, as we gear up to our zero carbon ambition, councils will be able to continue with and adopt new Merton rules, although it is important that they are properly tested as part of development plan documents (DPDs).

The reasons for the Secretary of State’s proposed changes to the Yorkshire and the Humber Assembly’s draft revised Regional Spatial Strategy are set out in the published schedule. This is available on the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber’s website at:


19 May 2008 : Column 46W

The consultation on the proposed changes closes on 21 December 2007. Representations received are being considered carefully in finalising the revised RSS which we intend to publish soon.


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