Residents in Esher have reacted to revelations about housing minister Robert Jenrick after he became the centre of a row about development at Sandown Racecourse.

Esher Residents Association (ERA) has long opposed the Jockey Club’s plans for a 150-room hotel, improvements to the site and 318 homes around the edge of the course.

The application was refused by Elmbridge Borough Council and the subsequent appeal has been recovered by Mr Jenrick, meaning the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) will not decide the outcome but simply send a report to the minister for him to rule on it.

A letter from PINS to the council has been published on the ERA website, stating that the reason is that it involves significant development in the Green Belt.

But in a report in The Times, it has emerged that Mr Jenrick is at the centre of a cash-for-favours planning row over his decision to approve a £1 billion development proposed by Tory donor Richard Desmond.

It also revealed links between the Jockey Club and senior Conservatives.

In a statement, ERA said: “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 council has received 86 letters supporting the development and 680 opposing it.

A case management conference will be held on August 13 with the appeal due to be heard for eight days starting on November 17, either in person or online depending on the Covid-19 situation.

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