The ‘vast majority’ of ministerial decisions on housing appeals have been in Conservative seats and a significant proportion of them have been refused against the inspector’s advice, a law firm reveals.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell looked at the 69 called-in applications or recovered appeals involving housing proposals issued in community secretary Sajid Javid’s name since he took office in June.
The research revealed 64 - or 93% - involved sites in Conservative constituencies. Moreover, in 14 of these cases Mr Javid refused permission contrary to a recommendation from the planning inspector.
Out of these 14, 13 were in Conservative seats. The exception was speaker John Bercow’s Buckingham constituency, where plans for 130 homes were refused in July.
‘We have a bizarre scenario: the secretary of state tasked with delivering more housing has personally refused 2,397 homes - almost all of them in the constituencies of Conservative MP’s - that his inspectors said should be approved,’ according to Irwin Mitchell’s head of planning, Carl Dyer.
‘And then he stood up at the Conservative Party Conference and said that too many decisions were being made by people opposed to any development. One can only question how committed he really is to solving the current housing crisis.’
Responding to the findings, a DCLG spokesperson said: ‘ The secretary of state is considering called-in applications and recovered appeals will always focus on the merits of the individual cases before making a decision, having full regard to the inspector’s report.
‘His role is to reach a view based upon his consideration of the facts.’