The MoJ is to urge an independent planning inspector to overthrow the decision by Harborough District Council’s planning committee last month to deny it planning permission to build the new 1,700-inmate prison at Gartree.
The Ministry’s move is bound to spark fury among local councillors, parish councils and villagers who have fought tooth and nail to stop the high-security jail in its tracks for almost a year.
Yesterday Harborough MP Neil O’Brien said that he was “disappointed” by the MoJ’s move as he backed the district council’s overwhelming vote to thwart it.
But Mr O’Brien told the Harborough Mail that as a Minister he cannot actively get involved in decision-making over planning applications in his own constituency.
“In my role as a Minister I have to recuse myself and not get involved in planning decision-making concerning planning applications within my constituency,” the Conservative MP told us.
“But speaking as the member of Parliament for Harborough I am disappointed by the Ministry of Justice decision to appeal the council’s decision and fully support the council in refusing planning permission.”
The Ministry of Justice has been asked for a comment.
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