Sammy Wilson in bid to influence 135 planning cases
The planning minister has sought to influence 135 applications — many on behalf of his own constituents, it has been revealed.
Sammy Wilson defended his representations as similar to those by any other minister involving their personal area of work.
He said: “Quite often of course, and I look at the 135 cases I have made representations on so far, on many occasions the planners say that despite the views which I have expressed it is still their view that I am wrong and that their decision is right.
“I abide by that and equally sometimes they have agreed with the points which I have made,” he said.
He has already criticised officials in his department for rejecting an application for a high-rise building in the centre of Belfast.
Planners said proposals for the Aurora building in Great Victoria Street did not pay due regard to the character of the site and the surrounding area.
But Mr Wilson said the building of the £90 million project, which would be 37-storeys high, would have economic benefits.
He said other ministers were involved in the same political work. "They are not a bit slow in making representations in constituency issues," he added.