HC Deb 23 April 2004 vol 420 cc690-1W
Mr. Clifton-Brown

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will set out a timetable for the revision of planning guidance notes into planning policy statements; what his policy is on reallocation of land zoned for employment, industrial and commercial development into residential land; and what action he is taking to ensure that each authority provides sufficient affordable housing. [166944]

Keith Hill

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends to make an announcement shortly on the timetable for the revision of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPG) into Planning Policy Statements (PPS).

In July 2003, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the consultation document 'Supporting the delivery of new housing'. This proposed to add new policy to PPG3: Housing requiring local planning authorities to consider favourably applications for housing development on allocated unneeded industrial and employment sites unless it can be demonstrated that the site is still needed for that purpose or that it would undermine the planning for housing strategy. This would complement paragraph 42 of PPG3 which expects local authorities, when revising their plans, to review all their non-housing allocations, including those for employment, and consider whether some of this land might better be used for housing or mixed use developments.

The consultation closed on 31 October 2003. Our aim is to publish the final policy in the summer, alongside practice guidance to help local planning authorities in reviewing employment land allocations.

The "Sustainable Communities Plan" (published on 5 February 2003) set out a comprehensive programme of action to increase the provision of affordable housing, including a large increase in expenditure. £3.3 billion is being provided for the Housing Corporation's programme over the next two years (2004–06). This will provide funding for 67,000 new affordable homes for both rent and low cost home ownership.

Also in July 2003, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the consultation document 'Influencing the size, type and affordability of housing'. It proposed that local planning authorities should address the housing requirements of the whole community by ensuring a better match between a community's housing needs and supply, and that all local planning authorities must have policies on affordable housing to help deliver affordable housing where it is needed. We aim to publish the final update in the autumn, alongside practice guidance.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 16 December, 2003, Official Report, column 856W, on the mechanism for monitoring local planning authority performance and the actions that could be taken where their policies are not having the desired effect.

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