Robert Jenrick handed a Tory donor an extra £106 million by letting him slash the proportion of affordable homes in a controversial development.
According to reports in the Daily Mail the Housing Secretary gave the green light for Richard Desmond to slash affordable housing in Westferry development from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.
Local council estimates show this would have given the billionaire Tory donor £106million in extra revenue.
EXC: Robert Jenrick gave green light for Richard Desmond to slash affordable housing in Westferry development from 35% to 21%— John Stevens (@johnestevens) June 18, 2020
Local council estimates show this would have given the billionaire Tory donor *£106million* in extra revenue pic.twitter.com/dHxZC5tc2P
Property mogul Desmond donated £12,000 to the Conservative Party after the Housing Secretary green lighted one of his schemes.
The £1 billion project got a last minute go-ahead after both the local council and the independent Planning Inspectorate had decided it should be refused.
His decision on January 14 came one day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a ‘community levy’ on developments that would have cost Mr Desmond’s company Northern and Shell tens of millions of pounds.
After the council mounted a legal challenge in the High Court, Mr Jenrick accepted that his original decision had been ‘unlawful by reason of apparent bias’, quashed the decision and said he would take no further part in decisions about the application.
Jenrick swerved a grilling from MPs over his role in the escapade after sending a junior minister to be quizzed earlier this month.
Labour warned the Cabinet minister will “not have the public confidence” needed to overhaul the planning system until he provides “full transparency over his unlawful decision to force through” the Westferry development.
And they urged Mr Jenrick to publish all correspondence he had in relation to the decision to give the development the go-ahead.