Northern Ireland news

Embattled Trevor Clarke facing action for building triple garage without planning permission

Trevor Clarke and Linda Clarke
Brendan Hughes

THE DUP's embattled Trevor Clarke, who advises on planning applications, is facing enforcement action for building a triple garage at his home without permission.

It has also emerged that a printing business run from the MLA's address is embroiled in a police probe into claims of "dirty tricks" during May's council elections.

Mr Clarke and his DUP councillor wife have come under weeks of pressure since an Irish News investigation exposed his sideline planning consultancy business.

Linda Clarke has also faced calls to resign after it emerged she was involved in awarding thousands in council cash to their son's printing firm.

The couple have insisted they "made all the relevant declarations and adhered to all rules".

A huge garage constructed outside their house near Randalstown is the subject of a council investigation into alleged planning breaches.

Mid and East Antrim council is also examining whether the printing business, AC Print, requires planning approval.

An enforcement investigation was opened after planners were alerted to the garage – which has three garage doors and a pitched roof – while examining a complaint about a car sales business run from the property.

Read More: Fresh concerns about DUP's Linda Clarke may need formal complaints, watchdog says

Meanwhile, a PSNI investigation is continuing after a TUV man complained that a DUP mock ballot paper described him as an Alliance candidate.

Produced by AC Print, the mock ballot was distributed at some polling stations in the Ballymoney area to encourage voters to back DUP candidates.

William Blair, who lost his seat on Causeway Coast and Glens council by about four votes, claimed it may have cost him the election.

The DUP has said there was a "printing error", but TUV leader Jim Allister branded it a "dirty trick" and said his party was "expecting a full police investigation".

Mr Clarke earns thousands of pounds through his planning consultancy business Versatile Consultancy.

The South Antrim MLA has rejected concerns that his business breaches the assembly code of conduct, which prohibits paid advocacy.

Asked about the garage planning probe, the DUP did not respond to requests for a comment.

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