§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what report was received from his 833W officials who saw the deputation on 22 July from the residents of the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Walsall area; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if an official from his Department has visited the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Blakenall area of Walsall; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what is the estimated total cost of carrying out work to the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Blakenall area of Walsall that would bring them up to satisfactory conditions;
(4) when his Department was first notified of the conditions of the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Blakenall area of Walsall; and whether those conditions exist in such properties in other boroughs;
(5) if discussions have taken place between his officials and the Walsall metropolitan borough council over the state of the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Blakenall area of Walsall; and if he will make a statement;
(6) if he will publish in the Official Report the lists of defects in the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings in the Blakenall area of Walsall notified to him by the deputation of tenants of those dwellings.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
On 22 July my officials met a deputation of residents of Wimpey No-Fines houses on the Blakenall estate, Walsall, led by the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick). I received from my officials a detailed note of the meeting, a summary of the points raised, and a copy of the report, prepared by the Blakenall Estate Residents' Association, which described the problems affecting their houses. The deputation complained that these houses were damp, cold, draughty and poorly maintained. I have arranged for a copy of their report to be placed in the Library.
An official from my Department visited the Wimpey No-Fines houses on the Blakenall and Bentley estates in Walsall on 9 September, in company with the hon. Member for Walsall, North, and members and officers of Walsall metropolitan borough council. The visit provided a useful opportunity to assess conditions on the two estates, and to hear the council's proposals for repair and improvement of the houses. The council estimated the basic cost of repairing each Wimpey No-Fines house (excluding new windows) to be £3,500. If heating and insulation were to be improved at the same time, a further £1,500 would be required. On this basis, the total estimated cost of repair and improvement for the 74 council-owned Wimpey No-Fines houses on the Blakenall estate is £370,000.
Officials from my Department subsequently met the council's officers on 16 September to discuss the council's housing investment programme for 1988–89. All aspects of housing need in the borough, including the improvement of Wimpey No-Fines dwellings, were discussed. This will be taken into account when the Department comes to make the housing investment programme allocations for 1988–89, but it will remain a matter for Walsall MBC to decide its own priorities within the resources available to it.
§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration has been given to designating the Wimpey No-Fines dwellings as defective; and what representations have been received over this matter.834W
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The Secretary of State has received no specific requests for designation of Wimpey No-Fines houses as defective under the housing defects legislation; nor has he any plans to make such a designation.