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Empty Property

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many public requests to order disposal have been submitted in the last 24 months; for which properties in each case; and what decision he took in each case. (324497)

Local authorities are required to seek the consent of the Secretary of State before they can dispose of certain properties held for housing purposes. Over the last two years specific consent has been granted to the disposal of approximately 100,000 council houses and flats: the vast majority as part of large scale voluntary transfers to housing associations. No applications made to the Secretary of State to dispose of property have been refused over this period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether public requests to order disposal apply to (a) Transport for London, (b) the Homes and Communities Agency and (c) regional development agencies. (324613)

Public requests to order disposal (PROD) are not provided for, or referred to directly, in legislation. PRODs are a tool which allow the public to request that underused land be bought back into use. The Secretary of State has the power to direct disposals of unused or underused land held by public bodies under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. This power only applies to those public bodies listed in Schedule 16 to that Act.

In response to your specific queries:

(a) Transport for London is considered to be a statutory undertaker under paragraph 18 of schedule 16 and is therefore covered by the Act.

(b) The Homes and Communities Agency is not listed in schedule 16.

(c) Regional development agencies are not listed in schedule 16.