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 in a moment.

This, I remind the House, is the council that has the highest housing deficit in England, according to the housing delivery test. Given Tower Hamlets’ failure to determine the case within the prescribed period, on 26 March, the developer exercised their right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and, after advice, my predecessor—not me, as has been said on many occasions by many individuals, including the hon. Member for Croydon North—took the decision to recover the appeal. All the parties were notified about this in a letter dated 10 April 2019.

So before I give way to hon. Members, let us be clear. I did not call in this application; I was not the Secretary of State. The application was not called in; it came to the Department because of the failure of Tower Hamlets Council. Here we have a council, described by one of my predecessors as a “rotten borough”, failing time and again to make decisions and get houses built and a Mayor of London with a dire record on housing leaving us to step in and take the tough decisions that they refuse to make.