Tom Blenkinsop MP calls for “rethink” on South Middlesbrough housing development following announcement of new planning policies and of the financial links between developers and the Government

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (27th March 2012) called on Government planning ministers to ‘call a halt’ to the consideration of proposals for the building of hundreds of costly executive houses in Nunthorpe after the announcement of new planning laws and also of fresh revelations that the house building industry had been making large cash donations to the Conservative Party.

Tom said “the announcement of the new planning policies were – as expected – an endorsement of the pleas made to the Government by the big volume house builders for what is effectively a ‘build anywhere’ policy, something that will put much of the countryside at risk.

I was also concerned – in the wake of the cash for access to the PM scandal – to hear of the revelation from the Electoral Commission that in the final quarter of 2011, developers gave more than £267,000 to the Tories –outstripping the £243,000 they had given in the preceding three months. It is clear beyond all doubt that the big house builders have been buying influence, and this, I would argue, taint all planning decisions that have been taken on the basis of assumptions on what would be in the National Planning Framework. I put these accusations face to face to Mr Clark across the floor of the House of Commons – accusations he failed to answer.

Following this weeks scandal of cash for access at the highest level, I believe the Government must come clean about these links with the house builders urgently – and in public – and state whether any guidance written up by these donors may have been used in the drafting of the Coalition’s controversial National Planning Policy Framework.”

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