HC Deb 16 October 1996 vol 282 cc1069-70W
Mr. Nicholas Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will examine how local needs are defined by housing associations seeking planning permission; and what advice his Department currently issues as to how these should be defined. [41199]

Mr. Clappison

Housing associations do not themselves define local housing needs. The responsibility to define and prioritise local housing needs rests with the local authority, in consultation with housing associations, the Housing Corporation, Government regional offices, local developers and other with an interest.

The Department provides guidance each year to local authorities on how to prepare their housing strategy and housing investment programme bid. The Housing Corporation also issues a national policy statement each year, containing details of the investment strategy for the next bidding round. Each August, the Housing Corporation publishes regional policy statements, containing details of the agreed local housing needs and priorities. Housing associations are invited to prepare schemes to meet these needs, and to submit them to the corporation for funding from the approved development programme.

Once a scheme is approved, it is for the association to seek planning permission in the normal way.