Westferry Printworks Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 1:40 pm, 24th June 2020

I will come back to the hon. Gentleman, but first let me make some progress.

For the benefit of the House, I take this opportunity to outline the facts of the case. As Members will be aware, the Secretary of State’s role in deciding called-in planning applications and recovered appeals is very long established. The vast majority of planning decisions are rightly determined at a local level by local planning authorities. However, Parliament has created provision whereby a small proportion of cases are determined by Ministers. The cases that fall to Ministers are by their nature highly contentious, frequently very complex and sometimes very subjective. There is no escaping that reality. It is not unusual for Ministers to come to a different conclusion from that of a local authority. Nor is it unusual, as has been said, for Ministers to disagree with the recommendations of planning inspectors, and I say that with no disrespect to the brilliant men and women who work in the Planning Inspectorate. My predecessors from both sides of the House have done so on multiple occasions.