HC Deb 25 April 1989 vol 151 cc526-8W
Ms. Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what additional housing investment programme allocation he has made in respect of(a) the Galleys Bank estate in Kidsgrove and (b) the Park Lane estate in Biddulph, in respect of problems concerning defective housing; what is the average allocation per affected dwelling in each estate; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier

Additional housing investment programme allocations of £389,000 and £690,000 were notified to Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire, Moorlands councils respectively to help them meet their housing defects obligations. These allocations are not made for specific estates or properties; it is for authorities to decide how to use them, together with their initial allocations and any other resources they have available.

Mr. Summerson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has reached a decision on proposals to amend the housing defects provisions following consultations with interested bodies.

Mr. Trippier

Yes. In the light of helpful comments from local authority associations, home owners groups and other interested bodies, we have decided to introduce certain amendments in the current Local Government and Housing Bill. This should help achieve a sound and practical streamlining of the housing defects scheme for the benefit of owners and local authorities alike. On the basis of consultations in Scotland, the Scottish Office proposes to introduce similar amendments to the parallel Scottish housing defects legislation.

The main proposal is for the taking down and reconstruction of an individual property, in an equivalent position, to be treated as reinstatement under the scheme so that grant-aid can be made available. Although somewhat less radical than our consultation suggestion, it would he more in line with Housing Defects Act reinstatement and, in certain circumstances, could offer a sensible and cost-effective alternative to reinstatement, provided that it is in accordance with the Act's other conditions. We also intend to bring eligible "shared owners" within the scheme by requiring local authorities to submit schemes for the Secretary of State's approval; and to allow the Secretary of State to extend the present two-month period for deciding local designations, where he needs more information.

Local Authority Scheme Number of units borought back into use Permanent/temporary accommodation Allocation 1987/88 £ Allocation 1988/89 £
Camden Various 35 permanent 632,000
Hammersmith and Fulham White City 56 permanent 349,000
Tower Hamlets Ocean 20 permanent 126,000 516,000
Middlesbrough Broughton Avenue 6 temporary 12,900 122,640
South Tyneside Tyne Dock 16 permanent 55,000
Bradford Woodside 14 permanent 37,000
Bradford Pennington Terrace 22 permanent 533,564
Leeds Gipton 10 permanent 200,000
Sheffield Various 57 permanent 560,000
Wakefield Airedale 16 permanent 90,000
York Various 22 permanent 62,700
Nottingham Macedon Trust 7 permanent 150,000
Rochdale Smallbridge 13 temporary 150,000
Blackpool Mereside 24 permanent 269,500
Guildford Guildford Park and Westborough 17 permanent 57,500

We also propose a minor clarifying amendment to make it explicit that local authorities should decade owners' applications as soon as reasonably practicable.

We have decided at this time against the introduction of the proposed package of lifting Government-set limits on local authority reinstatement grants, with a revised degree of Exchequer contribution: consultees' responses generally favoured retaining existing controls, for the time being, to help ensure reinstatement is carried out cost effectively under the scheme.

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