'There's no smoking gun'

by Peter Winter

Reporter:

by Peter Winter

Email:

peter.winter@thechronicle.uk.com

A LAWYER representing two senior council officers has told a court “not a shred of evidence” exists to suggest planners were placed under pressure to approve a £20m hotel scheme near Portstewart.

At the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast yesterday (Monday), he also described suggestions the pair maintained a special relationship with big business as “a complete misrepresentation.”

The claims were among a series of “very serious allegations” arising from a sworn statement made by ex-councillor Padraig McShane, submitted in judicial review proceedings involving the council and MLA Jim Allister.

Mr. Allister is seeking to overturn the council’s decision to grant the hotel scheme planning approval.

Plans include a 120-bedroom hotel, spa, holiday cottages, conference facilities and restaurant being built beside the North West 200 paddock.

Permission was first granted in June 2017 but withdrawn after Mr. Allister threatened legal action.

The TUV leader, who has a home overlooking the development site, recommenced proceedings when councillors approved an application for a second time last year.

*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle.

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