United Kingdom

Scotland Yard probing Robert Jenrick's decision to sign off £1bn Tory donor development

Police are assessing an allegation about Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick’s decision to sign off a £1billion development by a billionaire Tory donor.

Mr Jenrick was criticised after he admitted ‘unlawfully’ approving Richard Desmond’s 1,500-home development in east London in January. 

Mr Jenrick gave it a last-minute reprieve after both the local council and the independent Planning Inspectorate decided it should be refused. 

They cited lack of affordable housing and a conflict with local conservation policy.

Mr Jenrick said last week that 'clearly the way that the process was run gave rise to some concerns and so that’s why we’ve chosen to quash the decision'

The green light was given a day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a development levy that would have cost Mr Desmond between £30million and £50million. 

The money would have been spent locally.

The land is owned by Northern and Shell, which is in turn owned by Mr Desmond, who gave £10,000 to the Conservative Party in 2017.

The land is owned by Northern and Shell, which is in turn owned by billionaire Mr Desmond (above), who gave £10,000 to the Conservative Party in 2017

Scotland Yard yesterday confirmed that it was looking at a complaint about the planning decision, which has now been quashed.

A spokesman said: ‘The Metropolitan Police received an allegation on May 27. 

'The details of this are currently being assessed by officers from the special inquiry team.’

In an interview last week, Mr Jenrick said the application was decided ‘on its merits’ and done ‘without any actual bias’.

He added: ‘But clearly the way that the process was run gave rise to some concerns and so that’s why we’ve chosen to quash the decision.’

Mr Jenrick’s department - the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government - said last week: ‘While we reject the suggestion that there was any actual bias in the decision, we have agreed that the application will be redetermined.’

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