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Planning saga shows need for major reform

It would appear that the John Lewis planning farce (which seems to be longer than a Wagner opera) is to reach its last act in early 2013, with a public inquiry.

A recent report indicates a conflict of interest within the DUP in relation to John Lewis.

Apparently, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland is hiring - at the taxpayers' expense - a top London barrister to speak at the public inquiry in 2013.

As I understand it, the Sprucefield development would create some 2,000 jobs, much-needed in the area, since Lisburn now has only charity shops left.

I trust his colleague in Lagan Valley, Jeffrey Donaldson, will hire similarly impressive counsel, so that Lisburn will at least have a fighting chance of winning the planning debate.

Really, the John Lewis planning saga has only highlighted the urgent need for a root-and-branch reform of planning in Northern Ireland.

PAUL COLLINSON

Hillsborough, Co Down

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