HC Deb 24 May 1976 vol 912 cc46-8W
Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing units specially designed for disabled people have been completed by each new town corporation in the last five years; what proportion this represents of all completions; what are the numbers and percentage of current starts and proposals of specially designed housing by each corporation; what action he is taking to increase provision for disabled people in new towns; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Guy Barnett

Development corporations have no statutory responsibility for housing the disabled; in new towns, as elsewhere, this rests with the local authority. Corporations have, nevertheless, provided housing for people who are physically handicapped, generally through the adaptation of existing dwellings to meet the needs of the particular person. Corporations in general have not in the past sought to provide a stock of dwellings designed specially for disabled people. Up to the end of 1975 the Department had only been advised of 12 specially designed units in Basildon, 33 in Stevenage and eight in Washington, but these figures may not fully reflect the whole range of new building. The Government's Consultation Document, "New Towns in England and Wales" recognised the need for more emphasis to be given in the new towns to housing those in particular need, including the disabled, and new guidelines recently issued to the active London new towns have indicated that disabled or handicapped people from London should be given a high priority when tenancies of new town houses are allocated.

Tenancy allocation policies for other new towns are under review and similar guidance will be included in the advice to be issued. Since the passing of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970, development corporations have been asked to co-operate with local authorities in the exercvise of their functions under the Act, and corporations have been advised that all new building schemes should contain adequate provision for the needs of the physically handicapped in response to the special drive to increase the stock of housing suitable for disabled people launched last year by my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction.

At the present time, according to information supplied by development corporations, specially designed housing has been started at

Aycliffe 4 dwellings
Redditch 3 dwellings
Stevenage 9 dwellings
Washington 14 dwellings
and proposals for such housing are now in hand at
Basildon 5 per cent, of future housing
Central Lanes. New Town 15 dwellings
Corby 4 dwellings
Milton Keynes 31 dwellings
Peterborough 8 dwellings
Runcorn 15 dwellings
Stevenage 34 dwellings
Washington 14 dwellings

Development corporations' housing programmes are reviewed annually, and the nature and extent of provision for the physically handicapped will be specifically examined at future reviews with a view to ensuring that adequate provision is made.