HC Deb 11 February 2004 vol 417 cc1523-6W
Sir Sydney Chapman

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what standards have been established for the Government's plans for the redevelopment of the Thames Gateway in respect of(a) the residential density of new housing developments, (b) the proportion of development land that is expected to be previously-developed land, (c) design quality, (d) construction quality standards, (e) the accessibility of new housing to local amenities, (f) public transport accessibility and (g) the use of sustainable construction methods. [154043]

Keith Hill

For the Thames Gateway and elsewhere:

(a) (b) Planning Policy Guidance note 3 (PPG3) has introduced a series of tough new measures designed to meet the country's future housing needs in the most sustainable way possible. This includes a sequential approach which gives priority to re-using brownfield sites in urban areas in preference to developing Greenfield sites. In addition, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has a national target that, by 2008, 60 per cent. of additional housing should be provided on previously developed land and through conversions of existing buildings. One of the key features of the Thames Gateway as a suitable location for sustainable development is the presence of a substantial reservoir of brownfield land. In the period 1997–2000 an estimated 80 per cent. of new dwellings in the Gateway were built on previously developed land. The targeted investment now being mobilised through funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Transport, Regional Development Agencies aims to maintain this trend by increasing the viability and potential development density on key sites in the Gateway. PPG3 also encourages housing development that makes more efficient use of land (between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare) and seeks greater intensity of development at places with good public transport accessibility.

(c) Planning Policy Guidance note 1 (PPG1) requires that good design should be the aim of all those involved in the development process and should be encouraged everywhere".

This policy is supported by our good practice guidance "By Design". (d) (g) all new homes have to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations so that they are healthy, safe, energy efficient, and accessible by disabled people. In addition, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's increased funding for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) will allow it to provide greater support to delivering high quality, sustainable housing. CABE is establishing a Housing Quality Forum to disseminate best practice within the growth areas (including the Thames Gateway) and together with the House Builders Federation and Civic Trust has developed a Building for Life Standard to incentivise house builders to improve their product.

(e) (f) Government planning policy (in particular Planning Policy Guidance note 13) is to promote accessibility to local amenities by public transport, walking and cycling. In his statement on 30 July 2003, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister identified public transport infrastructure projects that are critical to supporting growth in the Thames Gateway. These included projects to improve strategic links within the Gateway through the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and to improve public transport capacity and connections in major development locations through extensions to the Docklands Light Railway network and bus transit systems for East and South-East London and Kent Thameside. Since this statement, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has approved a consultation exercise by the Strategic Rail Authority on a proposed Integrated Kent Franchise that incorporates CTRL domestic services to Stratford and Ebbsfleet. An informal offer of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits to enable the Mayor to take forward the multi-modal Thames Gateway Bridge proposal has also been made.

Sir Sydney Chapman

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average residential density of housing developments given planning permission since March 2000 is in(a) Bexley, (b) Barking and Dagenham, (c) Greenwich, (d) Hackney, (e) Lewisham, (f) Newham, (g) Havering, (h) Tower Hamlets, (i) Waltham Forest, (j) Thurrock, (k) Basildon, (l) Castle Point, (m) Southend-on-Sea, (n) Rochford, (o) Medway, (p) Dartford, (q) Gravesham and (r) Swale local authority areas; and what the average residential density of such developments across all these boroughs is. [154191]

Keith Hill

Information relating to the average residential density of housing developments given planning permission in these local authorities since March 2000 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All Local Planning Authorities within the Thames Gateway and elsewhere, are obliged to keep information relating to the determination of planning applications within their area of operation.

Sir Sydney Chapman

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what standards new housing to be built in communities envisaged in the Thames Gateway will be required to meet in respect of(a) schools, (b) health care facilities, (c) leisure facilities and (d) open spaces. [154192]

Keith Hill

For the Thames Gateway and elsewhere, Government planning policy (in particular Planning Policy Guidance 13) is to promote accessibility to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public transport, walking and cycling.

In addition, the Social Exclusion Unit's "Making the Connections" report, published in February 2003, sets out a strategy to help people on low incomes access work, food shops and key public services, notably education and healthcare. This includes the approach of accessibility planning in those areas that produce a Local Transport Plan, where local transport planners and others work together to examine accessibility needs and how to overcome barriers. Accessibility planning is currently being piloted and various accessibility indicators are under consideration.

Tom Cox

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the purpose is of merging housing associations within the Greater London area. [152978]

Keith Hill

This is a matter for the Housing Corporation but in general terms there are four sets of circumstances in which housing associations merge.

Methods used by local authorities for measuring tenant support for Arms Length Management Organisations
Operational ALMOs (i.e. Those who have receiveds.27 consent)
Ballot held
Round 1 Derby, Hounslow, Kirklees, Rochdale, Stockton-on-Tees
Round 2 Barnsley, Carrick, Colchester, Leeds East, Leeds North East, Leeds North West, Leeds South East, Leeds South, Leeds West, Waltham Forest
Round 3 High Peak, South Lakeland
Other test of opinion used
Round 1 Ashfield, Westminster, Wigan
Round 2 Blyth Valley, Bolton, Brent, Cheltenham, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Oldham, Salford (since withdrawn)
Round 3 Gateshead, Solihull, Warrington
Approved ALMOs but not yet operational (i.e. those awaiting s.27 consent)
Ballot held
Round 3 Camden (since withdrawn), Islington, Sheffield (partial)
Other test of opinion used
Round 3 Barnet, Easington, Harrow, Newcastle, Poole
Current ALMO bids
Ballot held
Round 4 Hammersmith and Fulham
Ballot proposed
Round 4 Nottingham, Sheffield (partial), Slough
Other test of opinion proposed
Round 4 Bassetlaw, Brent (partial), Bury, Baling, Eastbourne, Manchester (partial), Newark and Sherwood, Rotherham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton

The first, and by far the most common, is where two or more associations conclude, of their own volition, that they can provide better or more services by coming together.

The second is where an association which is in breach of the Corporation's Regulatory Code concludes that the best or only way of resolving its problems is by joining another association with the necessary skills and resources.

The third is where, after a Statutory Inquiry has found mismanagement or misconduct in the affairs of the association, the Corporation's Board has the power to direct, with the consent of the Secretary of State, the association to transfer its land and property to another association of the Corporation's choosing.

In the event of an insolvency, the Corporation has the power to make proposals as to the future ownership and management of the land held by an RSL, which is designed to secure its continued proper management by another RSL. Any such proposals would have to be agreed by all the secured creditors.

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