Robert Jenrick faces fresh questions over new planning row – How many is this now?

Under fire housing secretary Robert Jenrick has been plunged into a potential new controversy over a planning approval called up by the government just after he was appointed to cabinet.

Stefan Boscia www.cityam.com 

Quinn Estates had an application for a 675-home housing development in Kent taken over by the government last August from Swale Borough Council, after the plans were heavily criticised by local councillors and residents.

Read more: Robert Jenrick warned by civil service about £1bn development before approving it

The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the planning application was taken out of the council’s hands just a month after Jenrick was appointed housing secretary.

The Mail also revealed that Quinn Estates donated £11,000 to the Conservative party the same month the application was called up by Jenrick.

The company went on to donate a further £40,000 to the Tories over the next few months.

A Jenrick spokesperson said that no decision has been made on the Quinn Estates application.

It comes after Jenrick recently became embroiled in another ongoing planning row.

In February, the housing secretary approved an application for a 1,500-home East London development shortly after sitting with the developer, and major Tory donor, Richard Desmond at a Conservative party fundraising dinner.

The application had previously been denied by Tower Hamlets council, before Jenrick overturned the decision.

Desmond then went on to donate thousands of pounds to the Tories a month after his application was approved.

Jenrick later said the decision was “unlawful” due to “apparent bias” and cancelled the project.

Read more: Prime Minister has ‘full confidence’ in Jenrick over £1bn housing row

However, he denies any wrongdoing or that there was any exchange of favours for donations.

Labour shadow communities secretary Steve Reed has called the affair an example of “cash for favours” and has asked for a disclosure of all documents relating to Jenrick’s contact with Desmond.

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