Under pressure housing minister Jenrick releases planning documents to controversial deal

Robert Jenrick, MP.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has bowed to pressure to release documents surrounding a controversial planning application.

Mr Jenrick, MP for Newark, has been unable to shake off allegations after his decision to grant approval to a billionaire Tory party donor.

Mr Jenrick said “most” of the papers would be released today (Wednesday).

Following a newspaper investigation, Labour has called for “clarity” about the application for the Westferry Printworks Development in east London.

The former Daily Express publisher Richard Desmond owns the site.

Two weeks after the Westferry scheme was approved he gave £12,000 to the Conservative Party.

Mr Jenrick has faced accusations of “cash for favours”.

The scheme was granted only 24 hours before it came under a new community infrastructure levy – saving Mr Desmond’s Northern and Shell company nearly £50 million in extra costs.

Mr Jenrick originally approved the plan in January this year, overruling both Tower Hamlets Council and a planning inspector.

He later reversed that ruling following legal action by the council.

Mr Jenrick admitted what he did was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias”.

He’s also admitted watching a video of the proposed Westferry site on Mr Desmond’s mobile phone.



About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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