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Council will fight deletion of clause on 'bulky goods'

By Alan Erwin

Published 19/11/2016

A clause restricting future expansion of the Sprucefield shopping centre near Lisburn to bulky goods only is to be removed from the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP), a judge ruled yesterday
A clause restricting future expansion of the Sprucefield shopping centre near Lisburn to bulky goods only is to be removed from the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP), a judge ruled yesterday

A clause restricting future expansion of the Sprucefield shopping centre near Lisburn to bulky goods only is to be removed from the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP), a judge ruled yesterday.

Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the rest of BMAP can now be implemented, declaring it a "fair, just and proportionate" remedy.

But Belfast City Council immediately announced its intention to appeal the outcome.

Earlier this year the judge ruled former SDLP Environment Minister Mark H Durkan acted unilaterally and unlawfully in authorising BMAP without consent from Executive colleagues.

Mr Durkan's approval action was challenged by the DUP's Arlene Foster, the Stormont Enterprise Minister at the time.

But following the Assembly elections in May, consent was reached by newly created departments on the way forward in the legal action.

DUP Economy Minister Simon Hamilton and Sinn Fein Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard agreed on a proposal to have BMAP adopted without the bulky goods restriction. A barrister for Belfast City Council yesterday urged Mr Justice Treacy against rubber-stamping the draft order, saying it would involve the court veering into the area of creating planning policy.

However, David Scoffield QC, who brought the original challenge on behalf of the Enterprise Minister, claimed Mr Durkan should not be allowed to get away with "going on a solo run".

Despite Belfast City Council's objections, Mr Justice Treacy agreed to make the declaration sought by the two departments.

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