Thames Gateway

Deputy Prime Minister written question – answered on 19th January 2004.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many houses have been built under plans for the development of the Thames Gateway communities; how many are social housing; how many houses are planned to be built; and how many will be social housing.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Regeneration and Regional Developement)

The Government's policy for the development of sustainable communities in Thames Gateway and the Growth Areas was set out in "Creating Sustainable Communities: Making It Happen" in July 2003. The most recent annual house building figures for local authority areas contained within the Thames Gateway are for the 2002–03 financial year. Local authorities and the national house building council report a total new build of 7,865 houses for this period, of which 1,077 are social housing. It should be noted that these figures are totals for local authorities in Thames Gateway, but that some local authority areas fall only partially within the designated Thames Gateway region.

"Creating Sustainable Communities: Making It Happen" set a target for the Thames Gateway of the development of 120,000 new homes over the period to 2016, which is 40,000 above current planning targets. Projects worth £300 million were approved in July as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's new Sustainable Communities funding package. These include funding for new affordable housing.

The Government do not set annual targets centrally for local authorities on either affordable or social housing. Planning policies for affordable housing are set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 3, "Housing", and in Circular 6/98, "Planning for Affordable Housing". They advise that where local planning authorities are able to demonstrate a lack of affordable housing to meet local needs, based on up-to-date surveys and other data, they should indicate in their local plan how many affordable homes need to be provided throughout the plan area, and set indicative targets for specific suitable sites (expressed either as numbers of homes or a percentage of the homes on the site). Local planning authorities should be monitoring their performance against their local plan policies and targets, but this information is not collected centrally.

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