Robert Jenrick, the embattled Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government alone will decide whether the Jockey Club is allowed to build 318 apartments and a luxury hotel on Sandown Park.
Elmbridge Borough Council received a letter dated 15 June informing them that the Secretary of State will ‘recover’ the application.
Elmbridge Council officers proposed that the development should go ahead, but those plans were unanimously rejected by Councillors. The Jockey Club lodged an appeal and the Planning Inspectorate is preparing an 8 day hearing. Normally the Inspector would make a decision following the hearing, but they will now submit a report to Robert Jenrick, who will decide what will happen.
It is not uncommon for a Secretary of State to make a final decision on such a significant application as this, however, there is great concern that Mr Jenrick is open to suggestion, as evidenced by the scandal involving former Daily Express owner Richard Desmond.
The matter has been covered in a half page article by Louisa Clarence-Smith in the Times.
We hope that now that the connections between the Jockey Club and prominent Conservatives are revealed, it will lead to a fair and just outcome on Sandown.
The same newspaper also carries a fine cartoon on the subject.