Kevin McCloud was 'reported to police' after trying to challenge Michael Gove over housing standards for new TV show

Kevin McCloud in a forest with his hands in his pocket
Kevin McCloud was almost denied entry to an event presented by Michael Gove and claims to have been 'reported to the police' (Image credit: Channel 4)

Kevin McCloud claims he was reported to the police after attempting to challenge Michael Gove over the government's building regulations.

The Channel 4 presenter was attempting to ask the Secretary of State why housebuilders are not asked to produce higher quality housing stocks and why councils are blocked from creating their own higher standards.

In his new documentary, The Great Climate Fight he reveals he attempted to attend to book launch before organisers tried to prevent him from coming so he could not ask about the government's planning reforms before eventually being allowed to attend.

Why was Kevin McCloud trying to speak to Gove?

For his new TV show, Kevin McCloud discovered that the government has blocked planning authorities demanding higher standards from housebuilders.

He spoke to Diane Neville, a senior planning officer at Lancaster City Council, who said their plans to bring in higher building regulations for those building a house in their area cannot proceed.

A written ministerial statement in 2015 from Eric Pickles, the former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "Local planning authorities preparing neighbourhood plans should not set any additional technical standards or requirements relating to new dwellings."

Kevin claimed Michael Gove could revoke this statement without any legislative changes being needed and just needs a new statement, but has yet to do so.

This sparked Kevin McCloud to question: "Why are this government not demanding these wealthy housebuilders to build better? Is it just a coincidence that many of these huge housebuilders have historically been donors to the Tory party? I don't know, but whatever the reason they're being allowed to basically get away with building new houses that are such low standard in comparison to what else is going on in Europe. It would not cost the government a penny to demand better."

So why was Kevin McCloud reported to the police?

An advert for The Great Climate Fight

Kevin McCloud was told by organisers that he was not allowed to attend a book signing where Gove was present and also found out he was reported to the police (Image credit: Channel 4)

Kevin decided to take his question straight to Michael Gove in person, to quiz him about the government's planning policies.

However, in doing so, he was in for an unexpected surprise.

Kevin McCloud tracked Gove down at a book launch in Westminster with other MPs after refusing to answer his questions on climate control in houses, however on the way there in the back of a taxi he revealed he was denied entry to the event.

He received an email from the organisers of the event stating: "I see you have booked a ticket for the book launch on Monday. Further to a discussion with Channel 4 News they do not have a record of you working as a freelancer and have cancelled your ticket."

Kevin then claimed: “Not only has he cancelled my ticket, but he’s also [told me he’s] reported me to the Metropolitan Police."

"For what?" Kevin said. "For impersonation? Of myself?"

However, the organisers for the book Levelling Up 2.0 A Blueprint for the Future backtracked and stated he could come after he was granted a press pass, claiming it was a misunderstanding.

Gove agreed to meeting but backed out last minute

Michael Gove and Richard Bacon

Gove responded to Kevin McCloud saying he would be willing to come with him to Lancaster to help resolve the issues with poor quality housing but it was then claimed he backed out of attending a meeting (Image credit: NaCSBA)

Kevin asked Gove after his speech whether he would allow local authorities, such as Lancaster City Council, to set their own building standards.

Gove responded: "So we should be doing more to support that (helping planning authorities demand higher specifications). My offer is that I'll come with you to Lancaster and let's look at the situation on the ground so that together we can try to resolve it."

However, Kevin claims a meeting was set up with Lancaster Council and Gove, but this was cancelled at the last minute and no further correspondence was provided to Kevin or Channel 4.

You can watch The Great Climate Fight on Channel 4 on series 1 episode 2.

Channel 4 and the Metropolitan Police were contacted by Homebuilding & Renovating but said no comments could be regarding the incident.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.