Written Question
Housing: Construction
27 Oct 2020, 5:43 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Moylan

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps Homes England is taking (1) to encourage, and (2) to create, opportunities for small and new-entry builders in the housing construction sector; and what plans they have, if any, to reflect these steps in the specification for the forthcoming tender for Homes England's Delivery Partner Panel 4.

Answer (Lord Greenhalgh)

Homes England’s strategic objectives include helping small builders grow into medium builders and to encourage new entrants into the market. The Home Building Fund specifically focuses on supporting SME builders who are unable to access suitable finance in the marketplace. It does this by providing development finance direct, as well as through lender frameworks designed to encourage and enhance the supply of liquidity in the market to the SME builder.

In addition, Homes England looks to ensure SMEs can access land through its Land Hub, and the agency’s standard building lease sets out a legal obligation for a proportion of homes to be built out by SMEs or Registered Providers.

Work to replace the current Delivery Partner Panel (DPP3) is focused on diversifying the housing market and increasing SME access to public land opportunities, in line with the agency’s strategic objectives.


Written Question
Fisheries: Infrastructure
26 Oct 2020, 5:43 p.m.

Questioner: Peter Aldous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the infrastructure requirements of the UK fishing industry.

Answer (Luke Hall)

This Government recognises the unique challenges facing coastal communities and is committed to levelling up all areas of the UK. However, whether there is another round of the Coastal Communities Fund is a matter for the comprehensive Spending Review.


Written Question
Coastal Communities Fund
26 Oct 2020, 5:43 p.m.

Questioner: Peter Aldous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has for the future of the Coastal Communities Fund; and whether those plans include providing grant for (a) ports, (b) harbours and (c) other infrastructure to support the UK fishing industry.

Answer (Luke Hall)

This Government recognises the unique challenges facing coastal communities and is committed to levelling up all areas of the UK. However, whether there is another round of the Coastal Communities Fund is a matter for the comprehensive Spending Review.


Written Question
Mining: Health and Recreation Spaces
26 Oct 2020, 5:40 p.m.

Questioner: Alexander Stafford

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ensure that miners' welfare and recreational grounds are protected.

Answer (Luke Hall)

This Government is dedicated to levelling up to ensure that all corners of the UK benefit from growth and prosperity now that we have left the European Union and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. We are committed to improving the prospects of communities in former industrial and mining towns and villages across England. All have distinct competitive advantages that will be essential to shaping our economic future.

This Government has provided funding to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) which seeks to support mining communities in England. Over the last seven years, the Government has provided £22 million in support of their activities, which are designed to assist the CRT in becoming a self-sustaining organisation. The Government also announced in the 2018 autumn budget that we would invest £8 million to support repairs to village halls, Miners’ Welfare facilities and Armed Forces organisations’ facilities.

The Government has also provided a package of support for regeneration in areas affected by steelworks closures. In January this year, the Government announced £71 million of new funding towards ambitious local plans to turn the former site of the SSI Steelworks in Redcar into a huge business zone, home to world-leading clean energy, manufacturing and tech companies.

The £3.6 billion Towns Fund is also delivering dedicated funding for our towns. Through these Town Deals, an initial 101 towns across England will benefit from investment worth up to £25 million, or more in exceptional cases. Over half of these places are former industrial or mining towns. Funding from the Towns Fund will drive the economic regeneration of towns to deliver long term economic and productivity growth. The former mining town of Stainforth is one of 101 towns selected to benefit from this investment. Stainforth has just received an initial payment of £500,000 which will help improve the town’s parks and green spaces, including new walking and cycling facilities and play areas.

Looking to the future, the Government is also committed to creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. It will replace the overly bureaucratic EU Structural Funds – and not only be better targeted at the UK’s specific needs, but at a minimum match the size of those funds in each nation. It will be driven by domestic priorities with a focus on investing in people. Further details on the design and operation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be announced following the cross-government Spending Review.


Written Question
Housing: Cooperatives
26 Oct 2020, 2:48 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what fiscal steps he plans to take to support people wanting to form or live in a housing co-operative; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government recognises that the community-led housing sector – of which housing co-operatives are an important part – offers significant potential for helping to meet housing need across England. In addition to helping to increase the rate of delivery of new housing, it will help to deliver a range of benefits including diversifying the housebuilding sector, improving design and construction quality, developing modern methods of construction, and sustaining local communities and local economies. The support and close involvement of the local community enables the community-led approach to secure planning permission and deliver housing that could not be brought forward through speculative development.

The principal way in which the Government supported the community-led housebuilding sector in England in recent years was through the Community Housing Fund, making available £163 million in grants over 2018/19 and 2019/20. Budgets for future years will be considered at the Spending Review later this year. Community-led housebuilding organisations that are registered as providers of social housing may seek capital funding from the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes programme operated outside London by Homes England.


Written Question
Housing: Cooperatives
26 Oct 2020, 2:46 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of housing co-operatives; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government has not made an assessment on the effectiveness of housing co-operatives and we do not hold information on the number of people living in housing co-operatives.

The Government recognises that the community-led housing sector, of which housing co-operatives are an important part, offers significant potential for helping to meet housing need across England. In addition to helping to increase the rate of delivery of new housing, community-led housing will help to deliver a range of benefits including diversifying the housebuilding sector, improving design and construction quality, developing modern methods of construction, and sustaining local communities and local economies. The support and close involvement of the local community enables the community-led approach to secure planning permission and deliver housing that could not be brought forward through speculative development.


Written Question
Housing: Cooperatives
26 Oct 2020, 2:46 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of people living in housing co-operatives; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government has not made an assessment on the effectiveness of housing co-operatives and we do not hold information on the number of people living in housing co-operatives.

The Government recognises that the community-led housing sector, of which housing co-operatives are an important part, offers significant potential for helping to meet housing need across England. In addition to helping to increase the rate of delivery of new housing, community-led housing will help to deliver a range of benefits including diversifying the housebuilding sector, improving design and construction quality, developing modern methods of construction, and sustaining local communities and local economies. The support and close involvement of the local community enables the community-led approach to secure planning permission and deliver housing that could not be brought forward through speculative development.


Written Question
Permitted Development Rights: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 12:54 p.m.

Questioner: James Wild

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward a statutory instrument to extend the additional 28 day permitted development period for the use of land for any purpose provided under the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 beyond 31 December 2020.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

These time-limited measures were introduced to support businesses and communities during the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to keep temporary rights under review.


Written Question
Planning Permission
22 Oct 2020, 12:51 p.m.

Questioner: Derek Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on (a) ensuring contractors are not able to start work on site without evidence of a planning approval notice and (b) seeking consent from all landowners affected by the application to be given before starting work.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Local planning authorities have a range of planning enforcement powers to address unauthorised development, including where development has commenced in breach of appropriate planning permission, for example, before the discharge of pre-commencement conditions. It is the case that the grant of planning permission has no effect on the ownership of the land, and that obtaining planning permission does not automatically mean a development can go ahead. In particular, development cannot proceed without the agreement of the relevant owners.


Written Question
Property Development: Taxation
22 Oct 2020, 12:50 p.m.

Questioner: Rushanara Ali

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how his Department plans to ensure that the proposed new levy on developers raises at least as much value as is currently captured through the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 payments.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development.


We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29 October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Planning Obligations
22 Oct 2020, 12:50 p.m.

Questioner: Rushanara Ali

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the financial implications for local authorities of removing section 106 payments.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development.


We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29 October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Property Development: Taxation
22 Oct 2020, 12:50 p.m.

Questioner: Rushanara Ali

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether it is his policy that local authorities will be able to determine the new infrastructure levy on developers; and at what level he plans to set the value-based minimum threshold for that levy.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development.


We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29 October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Housing: Insulation
22 Oct 2020, 12:48 p.m.

Questioner: Helen Hayes

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department's response to the e-petition entitled Free leaseholders trapped in new build properties by post-Grenfell EWS1 form and the statement in that response that building owners and managing agents should also make available relevant information to residents, lenders and potential buyers, what (a) content that information should provide and (b) form that information should take.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Not all lenders request an EWS1 and we are encouraging lenders to accept a broader range of evidence to assure themselves of a building’s safety. This could include a fire risk assessment that includes external walls, a recent building control certificate, or other assurances of the building’s safety the building owner can provide.


Written Question
Sleeping Rough
22 Oct 2020, 12:26 p.m.

Questioner: Jon Trickett

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to Government funding for winter 2019 of £13 million for the Cold Weather Fund for rough sleepers, for what reason the Government is providing £12 million to keep rough sleepers safe during winter 2020.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

On 13 October, the Government announced additional support for rough sleepers this winter, giving local areas the tools they need to protect people from cold weather and the risks posed by COVID-19. This builds on the existing package of support and funding and includes: a new £10 million Cold Weather Fund for local areas to bring forward self-contained and COVID-secure accommodation; and, a new £2 million Transformation Fund for the faith, communities and voluntary sector to move away from their traditional communal models. Regarding communal spaces, we have published operating principles for the sector, produced with Public Health England and Homeless Link, which should be observed in any area where a shelter is required to open as a last resort, where not doing so would endanger lives.


Written Question
Homelessness
22 Oct 2020, 12:25 p.m.

Questioner: Jon Trickett

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many people were recorded as (a) homeless or (b) rough sleeping on (i) 1 March 2020 and (ii) 1 October 2020.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The most recent national rough sleeping data is the 2019 annual statistics, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2019/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2019.

The most recent homelessness statistics cover the period from January to March 2020 and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics.


Written Question
Commonhold and Leasehold: Reform
21 Oct 2020, 3:47 p.m.

Questioner: Matthew Offord

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to respond to the Law Commission’s three reports on reforming residential leasehold and commonhold, published on 21 July 2020.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The Government is taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. We are working with the Law Commission to make buying a freehold or extending a lease easier, quicker and cheaper – and to reinvigorate Commonhold to provide consumers with a choice of tenure and the Right to Manage to help empower those that wish to, to take on management responsibilities for their properties


In January this year the Law Commission published the first of four reports, on the valuation aspects of enfranchisement, and on 21 July a further three reports on the remaining aspects of enfranchisement as well as Commonhold and Right to Manage. We will consider all their recommendations carefully and respond in due course.

Details can be found here: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/residential-leasehold-and-commonhold/ .


Written Question
Permitted Development Rights: Coronavirus
21 Oct 2020, 3:31 p.m.

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the provisions of The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 to apply to temporary structures beyond 31 December 2020.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

These time-limited measures were introduced to support businesses and communities during the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to keep temporary rights under review.


Written Question
Housing: Construction Methods
21 Oct 2020, 3:30 p.m.

Questioner: Mike Amesbury

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to expand the evidence base to increase its understanding of modern methods of construction technologies and their effect on functional design for people who will live in homes subject to those construction technologies.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of houses and that requires a modern construction industry. Building more homes using modern methods of construction, including offsite and smart techniques, is a key part of this.

We are always looking to expand our evidence base across all of our policy areas, especially ones with new, ever improving technologies such as modern methods of construction (MMC). We will continue to work with industry to further our understanding of construction technologies as well as use our own metrics in our programmes. For example, the new Affordable Homes Programme funding has a minimum target for MMC, which will be reviewed annually and increased as market conditions allow. We will also be commissioning a research project on the risks associated with modular construction.


Written Question
Buildings: Safety
21 Oct 2020, 3:30 p.m.

Questioner: Mike Amesbury

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to ensure that any baseline for standards in the Building Safety Bill includes (a) a property and (b) a life safety baseline to ensure that individuals can escape but also have a property to return to following a peril event.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Building Safety Bill will establish a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings, both in design and construction and for the building in use. It will also drive improvements in building safety and performance standards in all buildings, driving culture change and incentivising compliance. The Bill will ensure that building safety standards are effectively enforced but the standards are not set out in the Bill itself.

A technical review of Approved Document B (fire safety) of the building regulations is underway. The scope of fire protection requirements will be considered as part of the review, including whether it should be extended to the protection of property in addition to life safety. Details of the review are set out at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877365/Technical_review_of_Approved_Document_B_workplan.pdf.


Written Question
Landlords
21 Oct 2020, 3:29 p.m.

Questioner: James Murray

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department plans to make the database of rogue landlords and property agents introduced in April 2018 publicly accessible.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government intends to continue to develop and implement measures to widen access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents. We will also give greater powers to drive improvements in standards, and empower tenants to make an informed choice about who they rent from. We intend to bring forward this legislation as part of the Renters Reform Bill.


Written Question
Landlords
21 Oct 2020, 3:29 p.m.

Questioner: James Murray

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many (a) entries, (b) offences, (c) landlords, and (d) letting agents are currently included in his Department’s rogue landlord database.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government intends to continue to develop and implement measures to widen access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents. We will also give greater powers to drive improvements in standards, and empower tenants to make an informed choice about who they rent from. We intend to bring forward this legislation as part of the Renters Reform Bill.


Written Question
Landlords
21 Oct 2020, 3:29 p.m.

Questioner: James Murray

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many entries were added to his Department’s rogue landlord database in each month since April 2018.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government intends to continue to develop and implement measures to widen access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents. We will also give greater powers to drive improvements in standards, and empower tenants to make an informed choice about who they rent from. We intend to bring forward this legislation as part of the Renters Reform Bill.


Written Question
Councillors: Vacancies
20 Oct 2020, 3:38 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Greaves

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many council seat vacancies are currently being held over by principal local authorities in England; and, of these, how many are in seats where the term of office would in any case end next May.

Answer (Lord Greenhalgh)

The Government does not hold records detailing council seat vacancies in England; each local authority is responsible for ensuring vacancies are filled. Legislation has postponed all local polls in England until May 2021.


Written Question
Ventilation: Coronavirus
20 Oct 2020, 3:37 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of (1) evidence of aerosol transmission of COVID-19, and (2) the adequacy of (a) current building regulations, and (b) guidance on provision of artificial and natural ventilation, particularly air exchange rates.

Answer (Lord Greenhalgh)

SAGE (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) have considered evidence on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies. During the coronavirus pandemic, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and the Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) provided advice to SAGE on this matter.

SAGE EMG and NERVTAG have published a paper on aerosol transmission (attached) which includes comments on ventilation https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nervtagemg-role-of-aerosol-transmission-in-covid-19-22-july-2020 . A paper on ventilation and COVID-19 is currently being prepared by SAGE EMG.

We are planning to consult on changes to the Building Regulations ventilation standards, including a number of measures to enhance the ventilation provision for non-domestic buildings to mitigate the risk of transmission of infectious agents. This work has been informed by discussions with public health and ventilation experts. The Building Regulations apply when a new building is constructed, or when significant work takes place on an existing building.


Written Question
Silica: Health Hazards
20 Oct 2020, 2:50 p.m.

Questioner: Matt Western

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on health of silica particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The MHCLG has not commissioned any research into the potential effect on health of silica sand particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction. The remit of my Department is related to planning matters.

Our National Planning Policy Framework sets out how mineral planning authorities should approach planning for and dealing with mineral planning developments. It states that in granting planning permission for mineral extraction planning authorities should ensure that any unavoidable dust and particle emissions are controlled, mitigated or removed at source.

It is, therefore, for mineral planning authorities to plan for and determine planning applications for silica sand and assess the impacts of those proposals, including the impacts of any dust emissions. In dealing with mineral proposals, mineral planning authorities would seek the views of appropriate consultees, such as local environmental health authorities, Environment Agency, Public Health England and/or the Health and Safety Executive depending on the particular facts of the case.