Data Shows Paradox Of Tory Policy To Build More New Homes
Law firm Irwin Mitchell analysed the incidences when Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid used his powers to call in a planning application for new homes and rule on whether it should be approved.
It found his actions did not tally with his rhetoric on the need to build the houses Britain needs, and alleged politically motivated NIMBYism is the cause.
The vast majority of Javid's recent ministerial decisions on housing appeals have been in Conservative seats, and a significant proportion of them have been refused against the planning inspector’s advice.
Irwin Mitchell looked at the 69 called-in applications involving housing proposals issued in Javid's name since he took office in June, and found 64 involved sites in Conservative constituencies.
“That 93% — a pretty amazing statistic,” Irwin Mitchell head of planning Carl Dyer said. The Tories only have 56% of English MPs.
The research also revealed that on 14 occasions Javid refused permission contrary to a recommendation from the planning inspector. And of those 14 decisions, 13 — also 93% — were in Conservative-held seats.
“Those 14 decisions represented nearly 2,400 homes, which could have permission if the secretary of state had upheld the inspectors’ recommendations,” Dyer said.
Dyer looked to Prime Minister Theresa May's housing plans to get a sense of scope. May announced £2B of spending to deliver just 5,000 more affordable homes a year for five years, but Javid has blocked 50% of that figure on his own.
“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 MPs — that his inspectors said should be approved,” Dyer said. “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.”
In response to the data, the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The secretary of state in 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.”