Mark Wilding reports that Khan't Do Anything Right is very sulky about James Brokenshire stepping in to defend local residents against greedy developers.
.....a more interventionist approach by the housing secretary on planning decisions in the capital has angered London mayor Sadiq Khan. Observers say the government's line could make both developers and councils nervous.
Just a few days before, the housing secretary had issued a holding direction in relation to plans for the 46-home redevelopment of the Newcombe House office block in Kensington and Chelsea – preventing permission being granted until Brokenshire decides whether to call in the application. Khan also alleged that the housing secretary had said he was likely to issue a further holding direction in relation to another scheme in the same west London borough, a redevelopment of the Kensington Forum Hotel to create a new hotel plus 46 homes, which was called in by Khan in November. Khan's criticisms came just days after he praised Brokenshire for refusing an estate regeneration scheme in west London over a lack of social housing.
If Khan is correct about the impending Kensington Forum Hotel holding direction, Brokenshire has even pre-empted the London mayor’s decision.
Mike Kiely, London chair at the Planning Officers Society, said such disputes could make life similarly difficult for councils. "These decisions should be made locally," he said, adding that the Purley decision will have been particularly hard for officers to stomach. "These are difficult decisions to make and the officers at Croydon have worked hard to make this scheme a success," he said. "To have the rug pulled out at the end of the process is not the way to run a planning system."