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Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) people were on the housing waiting list, (b) priority homelessness acceptances there were and (c) units of temporary housing there were in each local authority area in the Sout-East Region in each year since 1997. [120312]

Local authorities annually report the numbers of households on their housing register (excluding tenants awaiting a transfer) as at 1 April. Their activities under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Acts are reported on quarterly returns and include the number of households accepted as homeless and in priority need during the quarter, along with the number in temporary accommodation on the last day of the quarter. A summary of this information is available in the Library in the Library of the House.No information is collected about the number of temporary housing dwellings available to local authorities. Information on the number of households on local authority housing registers at 1 April 2003 will be collated.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to increase housing investment in the South-East areas outside the designated growth areas in the next Comprehensive Spending Review in 2004. [120314]

Housing Investment plans for the period covered by the Spending Review 2004 will be determined in the context of that Spending Review.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will respond to the Eighth Report of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Select Committee on Planning for Sustainable Communities in the South-East, Session 2002–03, HC 77-I, with particular regard to the recommendation that funding for affordable housing should not be reduced in south-east areas outside the designated growth areas, that these areas should secure a fair share of any new funds that are available, and that extra funds should be concentrated in areas where needs and demands are greatest. [120319]

The Government's response to the Select Committee report on Sustainable Communities will be published in the next couple of weeks. Each recommendation will be answered individually.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many key workers in West Sussex have benefited from the key worker housing scheme since its inception, broken down by employment category. [120359]

As at the end of May 2003, 47 key workers in West Sussex have been helped to purchase homes under the Starter Home Initiative. The table breaks down the figure by local authority and by key worker group.

Number of Key Workers Assisted
Local AuthorityNurses/health workersTeachersPoliceOthers
Mid Sussex8400


Other key workers being helped under the Starter Home Initiative are social workers, care workers, fire fighters, transport workers and occupational therapists.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has had from the National Housing Federation regarding the supply of affordable social housing in the south-east region; what response he has made; and if he will make a statement. [120726]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not had any recent representations from the National Housing Federation (NHF) about the supply of affordable housing in the south-east.The NHF is an important partner in the region, and is represented on the Regional Housing Board in a non-executive capacity. There is regular dialogue between my officials at the Government Office for the South East and the NHF on affordable housing and other housing and regeneration issues, and the NHF also plays an active role within the Regional Housing Forum.The NHF in the south-east led a working group on affordable housing for the last Regional Housing Statement, which was published in February 2002, and have also been actively involved in working towards the new Regional Housing Strategy to be published in July 2003. It is expected that the NHF will make a full response to the consultation on the first draft of the strategy, which ends on 7 July 2003, and this is likely to include comments on affordable housing in the region.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the deposited draft Lancashire Structure Plan and its housing requirements take precedence over (a) the adopted Structure Plan and (b) the Lancaster District Local Plan. [120460]

In general, planning applications should be determined in accordance with adopted plans. Account can be taken of policies in emerging development plans, with the weight to be attached to them being a matter for the decision maker, depending upon the stage reached in the plan preparation process and subject always to the power of the courts in the event of a challenge.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers Lancaster City Council has to give planning permission for new developments for housing purposes on (a) greenfield sites before 2006 and (b) brownfield sites. [120461]

Development plans form the framework within which decisions on proposals for development are taken. It is therefore important that plans are kept up to date and properly reflect national and regional policy guidance.Planning Policy Guidance Note 3, "Housing" (PPG3), explains that local planning authorities should revise their plans to take account of the guidance set out in PPG3, and that they should seek to do so as quickly as possible by incorporating revised policies and proposals either in replacement plans or by alteration of existing housing policies. In considering planning applications for housing development in the interim, before development plans can be reviewed, local authorities should have regard to the policy contained in PPG3 as a material consideration which may supersede the policies in their plan.Proposals to develop any greenfield land for housing which, in themselves or as part of a wider but contiguous allocation for housing, relate to a site of five hectares or more, or comprise 150 dwellings or more regardless of size of site, and which the local planning authority resolves to approve, should be notified to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister before permission is granted. The notification provides an opportunity to check general compliance with the guidance set out in PPG3, and to consider whether an application should be called in for his own determination.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many affordable houses have been built in each year since 1997 in the Romsey constituency; if he will list each development and the cost; and if he will make a statement on plans for the future. [120439]

154 Affordable houses have been built in the Romsey Constituency during the period 1997 to 2003, with another 78 planned for 2004–05. Details are tabled together with site details and Grant cost.The "Sustainable Communities: building for the future" document published in February 2003 set out the Government's future housing plans. The housing challenges addressed within the document and through the programme of activity vary across the regions. The Regional assemblies (Preparation) Act 2003 will allow devolution of responsibility for housing to regions that opt for Elected Regional Assemblies. Steps have already been taken to ensure that housing policies can be better integrated with planning and economic strategies at a regional level, to ensure sustainable communities.Regional Housing Boards have been set up in each region to ensure delivery of policies and they are charged with producing a Regional Housing Strategy as a basis for advice to Ministers on strategic housing investment priorities in the region.Each region has been asked, by July 2003, to have a Regional Housing Strategy at least in outline form and be in a position to make recommendations on the allocation of resources for 2004–05 and 2005–06. In the south east region a draft regional housing strategy has recently been widely distributed as a consultation document with comments requested by the end of June 2003.

Affordable housing completions 1997–2003 Ramsey constituency (within Test Valley borough council)
Year/SchemeNumber of unitsGrant cost (£)
31 Footner Close, Romsey1
11 Morris Close, Romsey1
5 Winchester Court, Romsey1
6 Winchester Court, Romsey1
25 Winchester Court, Romsey1
32 Winchester Court, Romsey1
7 Cherville Court, Romsey1
7 Selborne Court, Romsey
20 Selborne Court, Romsey
3 Selborne Court, Romsey
Affordable housing completions 1997–2003 Romsey constituency (within Test Valley borough council)
Year/SchemeNumber of unitsGrant cost (£)
4 Selborne Court, Romsey
3 Winchester Court, Romsey
29 Winchester Court, Romsey
9 Feltham Close, Romsey 1
Thistle Road, Valley Park23
Cedar View, East Tytherley8
Alexander Close, Houghton8
52 Woodley Close, Romsey1
8 Stapleford Close, Romsey1
24 Footner Close1
Bell Street, Romsey6
Birdfield, Valley Park46
Chervil Close, Valley Park27
38 Winchester Road, Romsey5
11 Proctor Drive, North Baddesley1
157 Fleming Avenue, North Baddesley1
149 Fleming Avenue, North Baddesley1
39 Scott Close, Kings Somborne1
47 Woodley Close, Romsey1
Buttons Road, Romsey9
Eldon Road, Kings Somborne8
Borden, North Baddesley69
Grand total2326,587,420

To ask the Deputy Prime Ministerwhat steps he is taking to tackle hyousing problems in rural areas realted to affordability. [120470]

:The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects over 5,000 homes to be approved in small rural sttlements alone between2003–04 and 2005–06. As announced in the Sustainable Communities Plan, the Housing Corporation's rural target to approve a total of 3,500 affordable homes for both low-cost rent and ownership over the years 2004–05 and 2005–06 in settlements with fewerthan 3,000 people is being increased. This builds on the Rural White Paper commitment for the Housing Corporation to approve 1,600 homes in small settlements annually by 2003–04,double the number in 2000–01. Under the new regional; arrangements, it will be for Regional Housing Boards to consider rural housing needs in advising on the allocation of resources.In January, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister made it easier for local authority landlords to restrict resales of homes in rural areas originally sold under the Right to Buy scheme. A buyer who wants to reselll must either:

offer the property back to the landlord (if he wants to do so within 10years);or
resell only to someone who has lived or worked locally for at least three years.