BMAP faces judicial review

Mark H.Durkan, MLA Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced her intention to lodge a judicial review of the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) following its approval by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan. The proposed case follows on from a similar review taken by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton against Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill last December over the distribution of Common Agricultural Policy funds.

The draft plan was published in November 2004 and a public inquiry took place in 2007-2008. The inquiry report was finalised in 2012 and the Department for Regional Development confirmed last year that the plan conformed with its policy framework.

Foster commented that the plan was “published incorrectly and the fashion in which it was published was not in accordance with the ministerial code.”

Durkan (pictured) signed off on BMAP in September after the Executive had failed to reach an agreement. He stated that opposition to the plan “hinged on one single issue – the question of retail development at Sprucefield.” Plans to attract John Lewis to the site are at the heart of a long-running dispute between Lisburn and Belfast.

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