This week’s updates are:

1. £1.5bn 'community cash' unspent by English councils – Thanks to Mark Montgomery, Hertfordshire for this.

2. HCA Newsletter

3. Security firm denies its calls in New Addington are misleading

4. Deal to release £500 million funding to build new affordable homes - Thanks to Mark Montgomery, Hertfordshire for this.

5. Land-use and development performance figures

6. Beds in sheds action

7. Rights of way moves

8. £51 million contract for new troops' homes

9. College Policing January 2014 Digest.

10. Human factors in CCTV control rooms: A best practice guide

11. Housing 'substandard' in private rented sector

12. Planning Appeals - Commons Library Standard Note – Attached.

Visit the 'Secured By Design' web site for CPDA contact details, design guides, licence holders & application forms: www.securedbydesign.com

1. £1.5bn 'community cash' unspent by English councils – Thanks to Mark Montgomery, Hertfordshire for this.
Councils in England are holding on to £1.5bn of unspent "community money" given to them by developers during planning talks. The Section 106 money is intended to be used for social and community projects. But at a time of council cutbacks, £421m of it has not been allocated to any future schemes. And over the past five years £9.8m has been returned to developers, often because it has not been spent within a set time period. More at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25094100

2. HCA Newsletter
The newsletter for 8th January 2014 is available at: http://email.homesandcommunities.co.uk/communique/static/2670/17507390

3. Security firm denies its calls in New Addington are misleading
A home security company says it has provided more than 50 tape recordings to trading standards to put to rest claims it may have been misleading potential customers. UDS Solutions has been cold-calling homes in New Addington to sell its monitored alarm systems recently. But the council was alerted with some residents saying the company might have been wrongly claiming to be working with police and the council. More at: http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Firm-s-bid-prove-calls-misleading/story-20371434-detail/story.html

4. Deal to release £500 million funding to build new affordable homes - Thanks to Mark Montgomery, Hertfordshire for this.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins welcomed a deal that will release £500 million additional funding to build new affordable homes across the country. This new investment, secured through an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB), will help deliver up to 4,300 new affordable homes to rent. The funding will form part of the £3.5 billion Affordable Housing Guarantees programme, which enables housing associations to use a government guarantee to secure private investment at more competitive rates than they would otherwise.
More at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-boost-for-new-affordable-homes

5. Land-use and development performance figures
The latest national statistics on land use change in England released under the auspices of the UK Statistics Authority show that in 2011 some 68 per cent of dwellings (including conversions) were built on previously-developed land compared with 71 per cent in 2010 (from 2010 residential gardens were excluded from the previously-developed land category). New dwellings were built at an average density of 43 dwellings per hectare, up from 42 dwellings per hectare in 2010; densities on previously-developed sites were 53 dwellings per hectare in 2010 and 2011. Some seven per cent of new dwellings were built within areas of high flood risk compared to nine per cent in 2010.
Meanwhile, separate figures compiled by the authority showed that between July and September 2013 district level planning authorities in England decided 114,000 planning applications, three per cent higher than in the same quarter in the previous year and granted 93,500 permissions, four per cent higher than in the same quarter in 2012.
The planning authorities decided six per cent more residential decisions compared to the previous year, with major residential decisions up by 26 per cent.
Access the statistics.

6. Beds in sheds action
A total of 23 English councils will benefit from the share of a £4m fund to tackle rogue landlords in their area. The cash will enable councils to build on their work to root out ‘beds in sheds’. Since 2011 more than 500 of these illegally-rented outhouses have been discovered and action taken against the owners, while nine councils have already received £2.6m to tackle the problem.
Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.

7. Rights of way moves
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed that ministers are keen to simplify the rights of way regulations to find a solution which makes it easier for landowners to divert footpaths without affecting walkers’ enjoyment of the countryside. This move has the backing of the NFU and would involve regulations established alongside measures in the Government’s Deregulation Bill.

8. £51 million contract for new troops' homes
The £51 million contract, will see the construction of 346 new homes at Beacon Barracks in Stafford, and is a step towards establishing the town as one of the Army’s 7 major concentrations of manpower. More at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/51-million-contract-for-new-troops-homes

9. College Policing January 2014 Digest.
Included within the digest is an section on ‘College of Policing and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary publish concordat on working together’, which includes: “How effective are police forces at preventing crimes and incidents from happening?” This is available to download at: http://www.college.police.uk/en/21200.htm

10. Human factors in CCTV control rooms: A best practice guide
New interactive guidance focusing on human factors in CCTV control rooms, integrating physical and people security effectively, has been published.
More at: http://www.cpni.gov.uk/highlights/human-factors-in-CCTV-control-rooms/ & downloadable from right side of page at:http://www.cpni.gov.uk/advice/Physical-security/CCTV/

11. Housing 'substandard' in private rented sector
More public money than ever before is being spent housing people in privately rented homes that are in poor condition, according to a new report published later this month by the think tank IPPR North. The report argues that local councils could use this housing benefit spending to drive up standards, if they had more control over how it was spent. The report shows that nearly one million vulnerable households, many of whom are in receipt of housing benefit, are now living in inadequate accommodation. In total, over three million vulnerable households are now living in the private rented sector. The report says that privately rented properties are the most expensive and are in the worst condition. Over one third of privately rented homes fail to meet the Decent Homes standard. The report shows that the number of people living in privately rented accommodation and receiving housing benefit has risen by 900,000 in the last 10 years, as the role of local authorities as landlords has halved. IPPR has a long-term plan to shift housing benefit spend into house building but the new report argues that all local authorities must make better use of their existing powers to regulate the private rented sector. It recommends that local authorities establish Community Housing Agencies which would match tenants with landlords. These would compete with private letting agents and use profits to improve housing quality by increasing inspections and operating a system of landlord accreditation.
More at: http://www.govtoday.co.uk/local-government-news/21-housing-planning/17637-housing-substandard-in-private-rented-sector

12. Planning Appeals - Commons Library Standard Note – Attached.
This note provides information about planning appeals; what can be appealed, who can appeal and other routes of address for people unhappy with planning decisions.