Javid accused of nimbyism over housing developments in Tory seats

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Oct 27, 2017
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Sajid Javid has ignored planners’ advice by rejecting 13 developments in Tory constituencies

Times Photographer Jack Hill

The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, has been accused of operating a nimby policy towards proposed housing developments in Conservative-held constituencies.

Lawyers said that Javid was undermining Theresa May’s stated commitment to boost the number of new homes in Britain by refusing proposals in the face of expert advice.

The national law firm Irwin Mitchell claimed to have studied all 69 called-in applications and recovered appeals for housing proposals issued in the name of the communities secretary since he took office in June. They effectively involved the department rejecting applications.

The lawyers claimed that 64 of the applications involved sites in Conservative constituencies. “That is 93 per cent, a pretty amazing statistic, particularly given that the Tories only have 56 per cent of English MPs,” Carl Dyer, a partner at the firm and its head of planning, said.

The firm’s research also found that 14 of the call-ins or appeals involved Javid refusing permission despite the planning inspector having recommended that the development go ahead. Of those 14 decisions, 13 were in Conservative held seats. The exception was in the Buckingham constituency of the speaker, John Bercow, where plans for 130 homes were refused in July.

“Those 14 decisions represented nearly 2,400 homes, which could have permission if the secretary of state had upheld the inspectors’ recommendations,” Dyer said.

“Or put it another way: Mrs May announced £2 billion of spending to deliver just 5,000 more affordable homes a year for five years. The numbers are not directly comparable, but Javid's refusals, if sustained for the life of a parliament, correspond to about a billion pounds worth of housing provision.”

A spokesman for 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.”

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