asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing action areas were declared by local authorities up to 30 April 1975; how many of these areas are now subject to resolutions by local authorities provisionally extending their five-year duration; and if he will make a statement.
Twenty-eight housing action areas were declared up to 30 April 1975 and the Department has been notified of resolutions provisionally extending the life of eight such areas. In four of these cases the resolutions were nullified because the authority failed to comply with the statutory requirement to notify the Secretary of State not later than three months before the expiry of the initial five-year life of the area.The Housing Act 1974 specifically provided that the improvement of housing action areas should be undertaken effectively within a five-year period. It is important that the momentum of improvement activity in these areas is maintained, and this may not be the case if their five-year life is generally extended. So that improvement is concentrated, extensions of housing action areas beyond five-years will be accepted only in exceptional circumstances. If a local authority feels sale schemes should be reported to it as a matter of course.that an area continues to need special designation it can consider declaring it a general improvement area.