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10 Mar 2004 : Column 1520Wcontinued
10 Mar 2004 : Column 1521W
These include local government reform, new community-based initiatives, electoral pilots, the extension of e-government, and the opportunity for people to vote on regional devolution in the northern regions.
Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will publish definitive information on council tax levels in 200405 once we have validated returns from all authorities. In the meantime, I am pleased to say that most councils are budgeting prudently, and that council tax increases are expected to be, on average, less than half last year's levels.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 10 February 2004, Official Report, column 1347, if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter to the Mayor of London on the capping of council tax. 
Mr. Raynsford: No. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has written to a number of authorities but as a matter of policy it has not published either the names of these authorities or the text of the letters. It would be invidious to single out authorities by making public the letters they have received on this matter.
Keith Hill: Several Members of this House have made representations to me about the concentration of student housing in cities. There is limited scope for what can be achieved through national planning and housing policies. It is essential that universities and host local authorities work together to develop and share best practice and to plan and manage the impact students have on the wider community.
Therefore, I have agreed to arrange a meeting with key stakeholders, including the Minister of State for Further and Higher Education, Universities UK and the Local Government Association to take this issue forward.
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Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister under what circumstances (a) a planning condition may be imposed and (b) a section 106 agreement may be made to limit the frequency of burials on private land to one a week, averaged over (a) three, (b) six, (c) nine and (d) 12 months. 
Keith Hill: A limited number of burials over a period of time may not constitute a "change of use" and no planning permission is necessary. Exceeding this "limited" number of burials may require planning approval.
Planning conditions can only be attached to planning permissions. They are imposed to enable planning permission to be given. It is for the local authority to determine what conditions should be imposed to make it possible to grant permission for the desired use.
Planning obligations under section 106 may be made at any time, but in practice they are usually made between a developer and a local planning authority in the context of a planning permission. A person with an interest in land cannot be compelled to enter into planning obligations.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which urban development corporations, either existing or proposed, cover the four community plan areas; what the dates are for their inception; what discussions have taken place with their constituent local authorities; and for what reason the Stansted-Cambridge community plan was extended to the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 
Keith Hill: The Sustainable Communities Plan included a commitment in the Growth Areas to set up strengthened local delivery agencies with the necessary powers to drive forward development and the investment, public and private, it requires. For each major growth location the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister consulted local authorities on their views of the
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best approach before taking a final decision. In the majority of locations we have agreed that a local authority led local partnership is the best way forward. In a few locations with regeneration objectives, cross-boundary issues and large scale or difficult sites, the long-term focus, funding and special powers of an Urban Development Corporation (UDC) will be required to help to deliver the necessary change and maximise the potential for large scale investment. To date this approach has been either adopted or proposed in two locations in the Thames Gateway and one in the Milton Keynes-South Midlands Growth Area.
In the Thames Gateway, a UDC was established for Thurrock on 29 October 2003. Following public consultation earlier this year, and subject to parliamentary approval, it is expected that a second UDC will be established for London Thames Gateway in summer 2004. In both Thurrock and London Thames Gateway, Ministers and officials have been engaged in lengthy and wide-ranging discussions with local authorities on the proposals to establish a UDC.
In Milton Keynes-South Midlands, a UDC has been proposed for West Northamptonshire. As in the Gateway, we are firmly committed to a partnership approach for the proposed UDC, working closely with the local authorities, English Partnerships and the RDA. Prior to consultation, the Government and local authorities agreed that a UDC would be needed for West Northamptonshire to drive forward the regeneration of the area. We are currently engaged in a public consultation on the proposed UDC that will end on 12 March 2004. Subject to parliamentary approval, it is expected that the West Northamptonshire UDC will come into operation later in 2004. For Milton Keynes the proposed delivery mechanism will be an Urban Development Area (UDA), overseen by a Committee of English Partnerships. This "Milton Keynes Partnership Committee" will include representatives of the local authority, English Partnerships, the Local Strategic Partnership and the private sector. Consultation on the proposed UDA ended on 5 March.
On 2 February, we announced our intention to extend the London-Stansted-Cambridge (L-S-C) Growth Area to include Peterborough and all of Cambridgeshire.This decision takes account of the important role and potential of Peterborough in contributing to sustainable housing growth linked to the London-Stansted-Cambridge Growth Area, and the work of the Regional Planning Panel for the East of England in preparing new regional planning guidance for the region.
It also reflects the important work under way on sustainable housing growth across Cambridgeshire, and particularly through the Cambridge Sub Region Infrastructure Partnership, which includes Fenland, East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.
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Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister understands from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority that the following is the number of accidents involving fire appliances that took place in each London borough in 2003:
|Barking and Dagenham||18|
|City of London||7|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||7|
|Kensington and Chelsea||28|
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