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Housing: Sustainable Development

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) six, (b) five, (c) four, (d) three, (e) two and (f) one star homes have been built since the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes. [249775]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 20 January 2009]: Due to the time lag from when homes are registered, designed, built and assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes there are relatively few completed code homes at present. As of 31 January 2009 there were 34 homes that had received code post construction certificates, of these, two were code level 5, four at code level 4, 27 at code level 3 and one at code level 2. There are 843 homes that have received design stage certificates—some of these homes may well have been built but have yet to obtain a post construction certificate.

Landlords: Mortgages

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the availability of mortgage finance to private landlords. [259518]

Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government Ministers meet colleagues across government regularly to discuss all aspects of housing policy.

Mortgage finance is a matter for HM Treasury. Ministers are in regular contact with mortgage lenders and landlord associations. We welcome access to mortgage finance for responsible private landlords.

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to reply to the letter of 15 January 2009 from the hon. Member for Wycombe on details of the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder fund. [260597]

Hazel Blears: I have now replied to the hon. Member’s letter.

Migration Trust Fund

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding has been allocated from the Migration Trust Fund in 2008; and to which projects. [260814]

Mr. Khan: In February 2008, we announced a fund to manage the transitional impacts of migration which will be available to public services to promote innovative ways of working in this area. The fund will raise tens of millions of pounds and will start from April 2009.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 113-4W, on homelessness, how much has been allocated to each eligible local authority as part of the Mortgage Rescue Scheme; what her definition of vulnerable homeowners is; how many applications for funding have been (a) made to the rescue scheme and (b) granted support; when the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme will be operational; what role local authorities will play in its delivery; what the eligibility criteria of the rescue scheme are; and if she will make a statement. [260622]

Margaret Beckett: The £200 million Government Mortgage Rescue Scheme has been operational across the country since 1 January 2009. Under the scheme’s financial structure, funding is not allocated directly to local authorities. Instead, it is drawn down by participating registered social landlord (RSL) providers after negotiations have take place with a household’s lender and once a debt management plan has been agreed, the property has been visited and a decision has been taken on the most appropriate form of rescue. In addition, all English local authorities receive a homelessness grant, which forms part of their strategic responsibility to tackle and prevent homelessness effectively.

The scheme is targeted at vulnerable households who fall within one of three priority need categories and who would be owed a duty by a local authority to secure accommodation under the homelessness legislation (section 189(l)(a)-(c) of the Housing Act 1996) if they became homeless.

The three priority need categories are that the homeowner must be:

An informal telephone survey of 60 local authorities was conducted by officials at Communities and Local Government on 18 February 2009. This showed that
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over 500 applications had been made, resulting in approximately 180 cases meeting the eligibility criteria. Formal monitoring arrangements for all local authorities will be in place this month.

We expect the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme to be open for business with the first lenders in April now that the Banking Act, which is the legislative vehicle we have used to enable us to do this, has gained Royal Assent and the scheme design has been confirmed. The draft Master Guarantee is currently being agreed with lenders. This is a lender-led scheme so we do not expect local authorities to play a direct role in its delivery. The full eligibility criteria are available at:

Planning

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when she plans to respond to the 2006 consultation on the General Permitted Development Order 1995 (Demolition of Sports Buildings); [260466]

(2) if she will bring forward proposals to (a) replace the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and (b) revise Planning Policy Guidance 17 to provide for the protection of sports buildings from demolition and redevelopment under the planning system. [260467]

Mr. Iain Wright: A summary of responses to the 2006 consultation on a proposal to make demolition of sports buildings subject to planning permission, has been published on the CLG website at:

The responses were largely in favour of the proposal and we are aiming to introduce the necessary amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, and the Town and Country Planning (Demolition—Description of Buildings) Direction 1995, later this year.

Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) Note 17 already states that sport and recreational buildings (and land) should not be built on unless an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the buildings to be surplus to requirements.

Planning Permission: Wanstead

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who (a) was consulted and (b) made representations to her Department before her decision to lift the Article 4 direction in relation to Chepstow, 49 Leicester Road, Wanstead in 2008. [260342]

Mr. Iain Wright: This Article 4 direction was submitted by the London borough of Redbridge under the provisions of Article 5(4) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. The decision not to confirm the direction was made by the Government office for London, which is the normal practice in such cases and consultations are not undertaken before making such a decision. Two representations were received, on
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behalf of a developer and a local residents' association, and were taken into account before the decision was made.

Private Rented Housing

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of (a) the contribution of the private rented sector to meeting housing need and (b) the availability of mortgage finance for the provision of privately-rented accommodation. [259423]

Mr. Iain Wright: Last year the Government commissioned an independent review of the private rented sector from Julie Rugg and David Rhodes of the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York. One of the key elements of the terms of reference for the review was the role of the sector in meeting housing need and its ability to do so in the future. The review findings were reported in October last year and we are considering our response.

Mortgage finance is a matter for HM Treasury. Ministers are in regular contact with mortgage lenders and landlord associations. We welcome access to mortgage finance for responsible private landlords.

Recreation Spaces: Coastal Areas

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the recommended amount of public open space is in each of the principal seaside towns in England by (a) ward and (b) lower layer super output area. [261185]

Mr. Iain Wright: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 2 March 2009, Official Report, column 1267W.

Rents

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of persons entitled to claim housing benefit where rents are set in line with her Department's guideline rent changes; and if she will make a statement. [259605]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities set rent levels having regard to Housing Revenue Account determinations, existing rent levels, and local financial and affordability issues. The Department has not estimated the number of persons who might be entitled to housing benefit in 2009-10.

Rents: Arrears

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of (a) local authority and (b) registered social landlord tenants were estimated to be in rent arrears in (i) England, (ii) each English region and (iii) each London local authority area in the most recent quarter for which figures are available. [259933]

Mr. Iain Wright: The information requested is not held centrally.


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Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what percentage of registered social landlords of shared ownership purchasers were in arrears in respect of either rent or service charges in each English region in each quarter since December 2007. [259934]

Mr. Iain Wright: The information requested is not held centrally.

Repossession Orders

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency were repossessed in each year since 2004. [260961]

Mr. Iain Wright: There are two independent sources of data on actual numbers of mortgage possessions: The Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Financial Services Authority. However both are only available for the United Kingdom as a whole.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders data are available on their website at:

The Financial Services Authority data are available on their website at:

Trading Funds

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation her Department has conducted with external organisations as part of the review of Government Trading Funds. [260198]

Mr. Iain Wright: Shareholder Executive officials with responsibility for Ordnance Survey were represented on the Trading Funds Assessment Steering Group alongside officials from other Trading Fund owner Departments, Shareholder Executive, HM Treasury, OFT and OPSI.

As part of the Trading Funds Assessment, officials held regular discussions with interested public, private and third sector organisations.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the definition of Ordnance Survey’s Public Tasks as part of the Government’s Trading Fund Review; and if she will make a statement. [260200]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Trading Funds Assessment intended to clarify Government policy on re-use of information produced by a group of Trading Funds—including the Ordnance Survey—both within and outside their public task.

Specific changes to Trading Funds’ public tasks were not considered as part of the Assessment. If any redefinition of Ordnance Survey’s public task is undertaken as a result of the Trading Funds Assessment, it will be done
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so in close discussion with all interested parties, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with the Shareholder Executive as part of the Government’s Trading Fund Review; and if she will make a statement. [260201]

Mr. Iain Wright: Officials from Communities and Local Government (CLG) worked very closely with the Shareholder Executive on the Trading Funds Assessment. In the case of Ordnance Survey, CLG delegated responsibility to Shareholder Executive for advising Ministers directly on shareholding and financial issues but this is done in close communication with CLG officials.

Shareholder Executive officials with responsibility for Ordnance Survey were represented on the Trading Funds Assessment Steering Group. There were regular discussions on the Assessment between CLG and Shareholder Executive officials and CLG Ministers

Travelling People: Caravan Sites

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 10 February 2008, Official Report, column 1844W, on Travelling people: caravan sites, what targets for the number of pitches to be provided by each local authority have been included in the most recent draft regional spatial strategies. [259583]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information illustrating the number of pitches each local authority within a region has been allocated by their respective RSSs can be found by accessing the websites provided as follows.

North East

North West

Yorkshire and Humber

East Midlands

West Midlands

East of England

South East

South West

London


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