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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications her Department has received from local authorities for permission to transfer housing revenue account stock into the general fund under section 19(2) of the Housing Act 1985 in each of the last five years. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of her Departments expenditure in the last 12 months on rehousing people who lost their homes as a result of flooding. 
John Healey: The Department has provided, since 1 May 2008, approximately £32.6 million to local authorities affected by the summer 2007 floods and approximately £1.3 million to local authorities affected by subsequent flooding, to support them in helping householders, businesses and communities get back to normal.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the new houses completed in (a) Merseyside and (b) Crosby constituency between 2003 and 2009 were vacant at the latest date for which figures are available. 
The council tax base and council taxbase supplementary (CTB1 and CTB1S) return, reported by local authorities to CLG, includes the total number of long-term and short-term vacancies in a local authority area.
The table gives the total number of vacant dwellings in Merseyside and its local authorities at 6 October
2008, the latest date for which figures are available. The number of vacant dwellings is not available at constituency level.
|County/local authority||Number of long-term empty dwellings (empty for more than six months)||Total number of empty dwellings|
Council Taxbase and Council Taxbase Supplementary (CTB1 and CTB1S) returns from local authorities.
Those dwellings vacant for less than six months are more likely to be empty for a short period following a sale before the new owner occupies it, where the property needs work to be carried out before it can be occupied, or where the property is in probate and are seen as transactional vacant dwellings and are thus a characteristic of the housing market.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has provided to planning authorities on the definition of the term eaves used in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted) Development Order 1995, as amended. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government have not provided a definition of eaves in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted) Development Order, 1995, nor have they issued guidance on a definition to local planning authorities. Interpretation of the order is a matter for local authorities and ultimately a matter for the courts.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of first-time buyers purchased a home at a price under £250,000 in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department holds data on completed mortgages used for house purchase via the Regulated Mortgage Survey (RMS) which are supplied by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The RMS covers about 60 per cent. of the UK mortgage market and includes details on whether the buyer was a first-time buyer and the purchase price of the property.
Using the RMS we estimate that 89 per cent. of first- time buyers buying with a mortgage purchased their property for under £250,000 in the UK in 2008. Using Council of Mortgage Lenders data on total numbers of first-time buyers buying with a mortgage in the UK for 2008 we estimate that this amounts to around 172,800 first-time buyers.
Mr. Iain Wright: £4.6 billion in PFI credits has been allocated to the Housing PFI Programme. Around £2.2 billion of this total figure has been allocated to schemes that will help local authorities meet the Decent Homes standard. Of this, £1.1 billion accounts for schemes which are now in construction and/or operational.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made in the methodology used to compile the English House Condition Survey in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The English House Condition Survey (EHCS) was run every five years from 1971 until 2001 but moved to a continuous survey from 2002. From 2008 the survey merged with the Survey of English Housing to form the English Housing Survey (EHS) which is also run on a continuous basis.
The basic EHCS survey methodology remained unchanged from 1997. A smaller 8,000 annual clustered sample was introduced in 2002 (compared to a 17,000 un-clustered sample used for the five yearly survey) to reduce fieldwork costs. Minor changes have been made each year to the survey content and reporting to reflect the changing information needs of government. From 2006 assessments were collected under the Housing Health and Safety Rating system (which replaced the Fitness Standard as the statutory tool for enforcing minimum standards).
Under the EHS interviews are now conducted with 17,000 households a year. A surveyor subsequently conducts an inspection of 8,000 of these homes using a new automated method of data collection to further reduce costs and improve data quality.
The EHCS/EHS continue to provide Government with an essential source of information on the changing condition and energy performance of the housing stock. Further information about the EHCS, including annual methodological reports, can be found at:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers local authorities have to charge for building control services in relation to small household extensions. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities are authorised by The Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations 1998 to fix their own charges in a scheme for carrying out their main building control functions with the aim of fully recovering their costs. The charges for building work related to small household extensions should be fixed with reference to the floor area of the proposed extension.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting of the National Brownfield Forum; and what the membership of the forum is. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The role of the forum was set out in the Government's Response to (then) English Partnerships' Recommendations on the National Brownfield Strategy, and referred to the aim of promoting a more cohesive and inclusive approach to policy development.
The National Brownfield Forum held its first meeting in February 2009, and further meetings will be held quarterly. The meetings are held in confidence, and relate to the formulation and development of Government policy.
AGSAssociation of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists
CIEHChartered Institute of Environmental Health
CLAIREContaminated Land Applications in Real Environments
DCLGDepartment for Communities and Local Government
DEFRADepartment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
EICEnvironmental Industries Commission
EPUKEnvironmental Protection UK
FSAFood Standards Agency
HBFHouse Builders Federation
HCAHomes and Communities Agency
HPAHealth Protection Agency
LACORSLocal Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services
LRTLand Restoration Trust
SAGTASoil and Groundwater Technology Association
SILCSpecialist in Land Condition.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has provided to local authorities on whether under the terms of the General Permitted Development Order the measurement of the extended part of the dwelling house beyond the original dwelling house is taken from wall to wall or roof to roof. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government have not specified in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted) Development Order, 1995, as amended, whether the measurement of the extended part of the dwelling house beyond the original dwelling house should be taken from wall-to-wall or roof-to-roof. Nor have they issued guidance on this issue to local planning authorities. Interpretation of the order is a matter for local authorities and ultimately for the courts.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2009, Official Report, column 147, if she will place in the Library a copy of the recent reassessment of protection against flood risk. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 Consultation document sets out a tidal flood management plan for the London and the Thames estuary through to the end of the century. The consultation closes at the end of June and the document is available on the Environment Agency website:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much gross revenue the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre raised from bookings made by Government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in 2008. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1279W, on departmental procurement, whether the green spaces database holds information on gardens. 
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