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Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the East Midlands Development Agency has spent on internal administration and running costs in each of the financial years for which figures are available. 
|Salary costs||Other administration|
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the percentage of houses built in Chorley Borough in the last two years which are (a) affordable homes, (b) occupied on a part rent/part buy basis and (c) used as rented accommodation. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to improve housing for families with disabled children; what meetings Ministers and officials in her Department have held with representatives from Every Disabled Child Matters on the subject; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In 2004 the Government launched a cross-departmental review of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) programme. As part of the review Bristol University were commissioned to carry out an independent study of the programme and make recommendations for change.
An immediate change as a result of the review was that means testing for children was ended in 2005. This removed the disincentive to work for parents, and ended the delay that is harmful to childrens life chances and which helps to improve the health of both parents and children.
The DFG ceiling was increased in May to £30,000 to help an increasing number of people (particularly children) with complex disabilities which has made the current ceiling inadequate in meeting the full costs of the required adaptations. This change will help speed up delivery of cases above the current maximum, which have often suffered delays due to obtaining the extra funding from another source. An increase also addresses the increased costs of carrying out DFG work.
The means test will be changed so that working tax credit and child tax credit are disregarded as income. This change will help those working on low incomes (and in receipt of tax credits) with non disabled children. Those on council tax benefit, housing benefit and tax credits for those on low incomes are now passported through the means test process.
Access to garden was not an explicit grant usage, and not all authorities have used DFG to provide access to gardens. The regulations changed in May to ensure that access to gardens is a specific entitlement for grant, where reasonable and practicable. This change helps raise the quality of life for all people in receipt of DFG including families with disabled children.
Further work in the coming year will be carried out to improve the delivery of the programme with an overhaul of the means test and application form to help speed up the process. Other changes include the removal of the ring fence to increase flexibility in the provision of adaptations while continuing to ensure they are provided by retaining the mandatory nature of the grant.
CLG will continue to work with its stakeholders in helping to modernise the Disabled Facilities Grant programme. We are interested to hear from our stakeholders including Every Disabled Child Matters as to how the programme could be made to work more efficiently as a part of this ongoing process.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment she has made of the availability of affordable housing in the Peak District National Park Authority area; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on (a) the availability of affordable housing in the Peak District National Park Authority area and (b) future funding for the provision of rural housing enablers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing (PPS3) expects local planning authorities and regions to take a positive, plan-led approach to providing market and affordable housing in rural areas. In particular, it requires authorities to assess local need for affordable housing so that they can set appropriate targets for the amount of housing to be provided in
their plans, including specifying the size and type of housing that, in their judgment, is likely to be required. It is the responsibility of the Peak District National Park Authority, as the local planning authority, to take this work forward.
It is recognised that many rural communities are faced by particular challenges in relation to housing affordability and that these challenges can be emphasised in areas such as the National Parks where land supply is constrained. That is why the Prime Minister has asked the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor), to conduct a review on how land use and planning can better support rural business and deliver affordable housing. The hon. Member will present his review to the Minister for Housing and Planning and the Secretary of State for Rural Affairs shortly.
The work done by Rural Housing Enablers is funded in a wide variety of ways across the country. The clear vision for their long-term funding has always been that it should be supported at local level by the very local authorities and Housing Associations whose rural delivery they exist to support. I am pleased to note that in many areas across the country this is happening. Ultimately however, these are decisions for local delivery agents to take in the light of local needs and circumstances.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to encourage the development of disused barns in rural areas for the purposes of residential provision, with particular reference to such barns in remote locations. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The policy approach in Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing (PPS3) and Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (PPS7) allows for the conversion of disused farm buildings such as barns for housing, in certain, suitable locations. Annex A of PPS7 advises that one of the circumstances in which isolated residential development may be justified is when accommodation is required to enable agricultural, forestry and certain other full-time workers to live at, or in the immediate vicinity of, their place of work.
Local planning authorities should include appropriate policies in their local plans which will help deliver the amount of housing they need and decide where that housing should be located. It is for them to determine individual planning applications, such as those for the development of disused barns for new housing, in accordance with their local plans, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
Initial inquiries of the Land Registry in Lancashire reveal that some of the land to the rear of the property in question is registered and some is unregistereda more specific pinpointing of the exact location would therefore have to be made by my hon. Friend.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to establish a national geo-portal for spatial data held by public bodies; and whether the geo-portal will include cadastral data held by public bodies. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to facilitate greater cohesion between community strategies and planning strategies in rural areas, with particular reference to National Park areas. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In June we published revised Planning Policy Statement 12 Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities though Local Spatial Planning setting out policy on local development frameworks. In particular, it states that
spatial planning objectives for local areas, as set out in the Local Development Framework, should be aligned not only with national and regional plans, but also with the shared local priorities set out in Sustainable Community Strategies where these are consistent with national and regional policy.
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to local authorities on the inclusion of extra-care sheltered housing in (a) C2 and (b) C3 planning use categories. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local planning authorities can refer to ODPM Circular 03/2005Changes of Use of Buildings and Land for guidance in relation to Class C2: Residential Institutions and Class C3: Dwelling Houses, of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued on the optimal size in terms of (a) area and (b) number of pitches of Traveller sites. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department published Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites, Good Practice Guidance in May 2008. The guidance is not prescriptive, but includes information on the household possessions for which a pitch will need to cater, and notes the experience of site residents and managers that sites of up to 15 pitches provide a comfortable environment conducive to good management. The publication is available on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Mr. Sutcliffe: Secondments into the civil service to promote the exchange of ideas and experience are an exception to the principle that appointments to the civil service must be made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. However in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport our current secondments have been made on the basis of fair and open competition.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many places of worship applied for Heritage Lottery Fund grants in each year since 1997; and what percentage were successful in each year. 
|Financial year||HLF applications received from religious organisations||Percentage of successful applications|
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