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Housing: Sustainable Development

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he plans to issue guidance to potential bidders for construction of the new eco-quarters on the submission of proposals for the development of land on or adjacent to (a) flood plains, (b) green fields, (c) green belt, (d) areas of outstanding natural beauty and (e) sites of special scientific interest; (308534)

(2) what timetable has been set for the construction of homes in the new eco-quarters; what target has been set in respect of the number of homes to be built; and to what Code for Sustainable Homes level such homes will be built;

(3) what targets for (a) waste reduction and (b) car usage he plans to set for the new eco-quarters.

In my written ministerial statement of 1 December 2009, Official Report, column 119WS, I announced the responses we had received to take forward exemplar green developments to the standards that we set out in “Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns” (PPS), published on 16 July 2009. The PPS sets out the planning context and the standards, including for homes, waste and transport that these developments must meet. The PPS should also be read alongside the Government's national policies on the different aspects of spatial planning in England, including for housing and green belt development.

I have placed copies of the PPS in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made an assessment of the (a) outcomes and (b) cost-effectiveness of the millennium communities scheme. (308538)

The millennium communities is an active programme that is demonstrating how mixed-use, environmentally positive communities can be created on difficult, brownfield sites. It will continue to deliver outputs up to at least 2012. An evaluation of the longer-term outcomes and cost-effectiveness of the Millennium Communities programme would be expected to be undertaken following its completion.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is responsible for delivering the programme on behalf of Communities and Local Government. Communities and Local Government scrutinises the HCA's expenditure and performance in line with the HCA's Financial Framework, and against the aims and objectives set in the HCA's Corporate Plan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) of 19 May 2009, Official Report, column 1346W, on housing: construction, for what reasons no homes had been built in the Hastings Millennium Community at the time of that answer. (308711)

Hastings Millennium Community comprises three separate sites; Ore Valley, Station Plaza and West Marina. Development on these sites has been subject to delay for various reasons.

At Ore Valley there has been significant progress as a result, either directly or indirectly, of Homes and Communities Agency funding. A new community centre has already been completed, a college campus is close to completion and an adventure play ground is due to be completed in March 2010. The primary care trust is planning to develop a health centre at the site and improvements are planned at the nearby station. However, delays have resulted from high abnormal development costs and design challenges associated with working in a difficult topography. The housing market in this area is also traditionally weak. This has made it difficult to attract a development partner for the residential elements. Despite this, and the recent market downturn, a development agreement is due to be signed very shortly with Bellway Homes.

At Station Plaza, a new campus facility and health centre are close to completion but the residential element (comprising 103 apartments) has stalled due to the current housing market.

West Marina is subject to revised master planning in order to improve viability and clarify funding requirements.