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Local Rates

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what legal responsibilities local authorities have for new build houses with respect to maintaining (a) drains, (b) play areas that are incomplete and (c) roads which are unfinished. [129176]

When granting planning permission local authorities may impose conditions to secure the completion of elements of the development. Both the imposition of conditions and their subsequent enforcement if not implemented is at the discretion of the local authority. Any decision to assume responsibility for streets which are not maintainable at public expense is entirely a matter for the relevant local highway authority. The sewers that serve developments are normally adopted by means of an agreement under section 104 of the Water Industry Act 1991. After an acceptance period the sewers will be maintained by the sewerage undertaker. Drains to groups of houses may not be adopted, but the extent of such systems has been limited to 10 connections under a protocol produced jointly by Government, the water industry and house builders in March 2002. The protocol should limit the extent of drainage systems that are maintained by householders.