Laura Sharman 27 May 2020

Westferry Printworks scheme quashed after Jenrick accused of 'bias'

The Government has agreed to revoke planning permission for the former Westferry Printworks on the Isle of Dogs after being accused of bias towards the developer.

Tower Hamlets Council took legal action against housing secretary Robert Jenrick after he approved plans to build new 1,524 homes on the site, a day before the council introduced revised Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charges.

The council accused Mr Jenrick of trying to help the developer save money, as the new charges would have seen the developer pay up to £50m more to the council.

The council asked the court to order the Government to release documentation relating to the decision. Instead, Mr Jenrick opted to quash the planning permission.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: 'We may never know what emails and memos the secretary of state received before making his decision and what influence they had, but his reluctance to disclose them speaks volumes.

'In siding with the developer, he went against not only the planning inspector but also the council’s Strategic Development Committee and the residents whose lives would be directly impacted by this scheme.'

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said: ‘While we reject the suggestion that there was any actual bias in the decision, we have agreed that the application will be redetermined.’

Photo: © N Chadwick

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