Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, called on both Middlesbrough Council and Government planning ministers to ‘call a halt’ to the consideration of proposals for the building of hundreds of costly executive houses in Nunthorpe after news emerged yesterday (23rd February 2012) that the house building industry had been making large cash donations to the Conservative Party.
It emerged yesterday from figures published by the electoral watchdog that construction and property firms gave £510,000 to the party between July and December last year – more than £2,700 a day. In the final quarter of 2011, developers gave more than £267,000 to the Tories – 9p in every pound – outstripping the £243,000 for the previous three months, according to the Electoral Commission’s figures. The increasing amounts being given to the Conservatives coincided with the publication of the controversial National Planning Policy Framework, which campaigners say will make it easier to build on parts of rural England.
Tom said “This means – to me at least – that the Government’s new planning policies are ‘tainted’ by this cash association and the fear that cash has been used to buy influence to make it easier to push through developments such as Grey Towers Farm in Nunthorpe. Time and time again, the members of the council’s planning committee were told that these new policies made any rejection futile – yet these new policies are now themselves under suspicion.
The Government also must come clean about these allegations and to look urgently whether any undue influence from these donors may have been used in the drafting of the Coalition’s controversial National Planning Policy Framework.”