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DUP MLA behind assembly motion on planning was at centre of enforcement probe

DUP MLA Trevor Clarke
DUP MLA Trevor Clarke

One of the DUP MLAs behind an assembly motion calling for a “fundamental appraisal of the planning system” was at the centre of an enforcement investigation over a garage built at his home without approval.

Trevor Clarke secured retrospective planning approval for the three-door garage at his home near Randalstown in Co Antrim, some two years after planners launched an enforcement probe.

The south Antrim representative, who ran a sideline planning consultancy business, had previously insisted the three-bay garage did not require planning approval.

The DUP MLA also rejected concerns that his Versatile Consultancy breached assembly rules which prohibit paid advocacy.

DUP MLA Trevor Clarke's home outside Randalstown in Co Antrim, where he runs a cars sales business
DUP MLA Trevor Clarke's home outside Randalstown in Co Antrim, where he runs a cars sales business DUP MLA Trevor Clarke's home outside Randalstown in Co Antrim, where he runs a cars sales business

Mid and East Antrim Council officials granted approval for the garage in 2020 under delegated authority, rather than a decision being made by councillors on its planning committee.

Mr Clarke submitted retrospective plans in September 2019 just weeks after The Irish News revealed the enforcement probe.



He is one of three DUP MLAs behind an assembly motion that will be debated on Monday calling for Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd to “commission an urgent and fundamental appraisal of the planning system, including a review of the Strategic Investment Board and its functions”.

Along with fellow DUP MLAs Deborah Erskine and David Brooks, Mr Clarke advocates “opposing policies that further constrain development in the countryside”.

The non-binding motion “expresses alarm at lengthy delays in determining major applications” and claims there is a “often disjointed and ineffective approach to taking forward major projects that have been approved”.

The DUP did not comment.