Billionaire donated £150,000 to Tories 48 hours after housing scheme was approved

John Bloor, 77, of Bloor Homes has a £1.3billion personal fortune (Image: Handout)

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A billionaire property tycoon gave £150,000 to the Conservative Party, 48 hours after the government approved a housing scheme by his firm, it has emerged.

John Bloor, 77, a director of Bloor Homes who has a £1.3billion personal fortune, is one of the Conservative Party’s largest donors.

On March 15, ministers formally gave the green light to a Bloor Homes proposal to build hundreds of homes on rural land in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Two days later on March 17, Electoral Commission records show, Mr Bloor's firm Bloor Holdings gave a donation of £150,000 to the Conservative Party.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government did not say if Mr Bloor lobbied ministers ahead of these decisions, the Sunday Times reported.

Bloor Homes, which announced profits of £152 million last year, has been approached for comment.

A government spokeswoman said: “The decision on the Ledbury development was made following a recommendation by the independent Planning Inspector to grant planning permission and in line with published propriety guidance."

The department run by Robert Jenrick (pictured) had the final say on the 625-home Bloor development
(Image: REUTERS)

Local councillors had rejected the 625-home plans, saying they would undermine a nearby area of outstanding natural beauty.

But in March 2020 the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government took control of the planning application following an appeal by Bloor Homes.

An independent planning inspector found in favour of Bloor Homes, and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government then agreed and gave final approval.

A decision notice published by the government on March 15 said: "The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions and agrees with her recommendation.

“He has decided to allow the appeal and grant planning permission."

While Robert Jenrick is Secretary of State for Housing, the Sunday Times reports the final decision was in fact made by Housing Minister Chris Pincher on his behalf.

The planning inspector had said the homes “would significantly impact on the Government’s objective to secure a better balance between housing demand and supply”.

The report added the Secretary of State backed the inspector’s finding that, “whilst tranquillity is an important quality of the area of outstanding natural beauty, a two-way traffic increase of about 19 vehicles during the AM peak would not have an adverse impact.”

Mr Jenrick, 39, the housing secretary, has previously faced scrutiny over his proximity to billionaire donors.

He approved a development for Richard Desmond, the publishing and property tycoon, against the advice of a planning inspector shortly after attending a black-tie fundraiser with him.

Mr Jenrick later admitted his decision was “unlawful” because of “apparent bias”, but said there was no wrongdoing. Mr Desmond was not accused of wrongdoing.

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