The housing secretary overruled planning inspectors and refused permission for a 165-home development in Kent over claims about generic properties, according to reports first published in The Times.
However Berkeley Homes has now written to Gove to inform him that they will challenge him on his “irrational decision”.
The homes were due to be built in Crane Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty 16 miles from Tunbridge Wells, with an independent inspector initially approving the development plans.
However Michael Gove ultimately refused permission and in a letter dated April 6 2021 Gove said the build would cause “harm to the landscape and scenic beauty”.
Gove: Clamp down on ‘identikit houses’
The decision is believed to be the first time the housing secretary has blocked the build of homes for aesthetic reasons and follows claims last year that he would clamp down on ugly identikit” houses “plonked down without regard to the shape and character of existing communities”.
In retaliation, Berkeley’s lawyers argued that Gove’s refusal was partly based on “erroneous and out-of-date conclusions”, mostly in regards to the shortfall of housing in the local area, which Gove had said was “slight”.
City A.M has contacted The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for a comment.
Earlier this year Michael Gove said the UK’s housing model was ‘broken’.
The comments by the senior cabinet minister come in a foreword to a collection of essays by liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue.