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Homes and Communities Agency

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what ability the proposed new Homes and Communities Agency will have to make decisions on (a) housing and (b) planning over and above the decision-making process of local authorities. (171709)

Clause 13 of the Housing and Regeneration Bill allows the Secretary of State to designate an area as suitable for development where one of two conditions are met. Where an area is designated planning functions may be conferred upon the Homes and Communities Agency.

The power to designate an area and confer planning functions on a specially created body is not new. The power in clause 13 is based on the provisions in the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 in relation to the Urban Regeneration Agency (URA).

As in the case of the URA, the Homes and Communities Agency will not have any planning powers as of right. Any planning powers that are conferred on it must be set out in the order designating the area of land over which it is to be the local planning authority and will need to be exercised within the existing planning regime. The order is made by the Secretary of State and is subject to the negative resolution procedure.