Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Zahawi’s family lived mansion in breach of planning condition

Sunak orders investigation into Nadhim Zahawi amid tax questions

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Nadhim Zahawi’s family lived in breach of a planning condition at their Cotswolds mansion for a decade, a report has claimed. Mr Zahawi, who was appointed as Conservative Party chairman by Rishi Sunak, bought the new-build property alongside his wife Lana Saib in 2011.

The property was erected on the site of a riding school and former farm seven years earlier and was built with a “rural occupancty condition” (ROC), according to the Daily Mail.

This condition meant only agricultural, forestry or equestrian workers could live there.

However, the ex-Chancelor and his family have been granted immunity from enforcement action after exceeding a 10-year time limit.

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Mr Zahawi came under pressure earlier this week after it emerged he negotiated a multi-million pound settlement with the taxman while serving as Boris Johnson’s right-hand man in Number 11.

The Stratford-upon-Avon MP reportedly had to pay £4.8million for the “careless error”.

This included a major penalty over his shareholdings at polling firm YouGov.

Mr Zahawi, who co-founded YouGov, was also said to have missed out on a knighthood due to the scandal.

The ROC stated that occupation of the property was limited ‘to a person solely or mainly working, or last working’ in local equestrian activities, agriculture or forestry.

Documents show that the planning clause was inserted because “planning policies would not support the construction of a new dwelling for unrestricted occupation”.

Mr Betts, who represents Sheffield South East for Labour, added: “People make an awful lot of money building houses in attractive areas. I understand why these sort of rules apply – they are important in rural communities to ensure there is housing for rural workers.

“There’s a very simple rule – members of parliament shouldn’t behave in a way in which ordinary members of the public shouldn’t behave. They should be very careful to make sure they comply with all the rules around planning.”

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A council spokesman said: “Whilst it is not our policy to comment on individual enforcement cases, we can confirm that all cases are considered in accordance with the Council’s Local Enforcement Plan.”

Mr Zahawi previously apologised in 2013 after making a “mistake” in claiming almost £6,000 in expenses to heat the stables on his Warwickshire estate.

It later emerged that he had used a company in the tax haven of Gibraltar to buy the home but denied the arrangement was a means of reducing his tax burden.

Express.co.uk has approached Mr Zahawi for comment.

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