Belfast planning notice review gets green light

A judicial review of the Northern Ireland executive's decision to review planning notices from three regional newspaper titles in Belfast was given the go-ahead last week.

The Belfast Telegraph, the Newsletter and the Irish News have been pressing for a review following the recent decision of the Office of First and Deputy First Minister to remove greater Belfast planning notices from their pages.

In September, the Department of Environment announced it was to save costs by stopping its policy of advertising planning notices for the greater Belfast area in the three Ulster-based daily newspapers. The policy was devised to ensure the executive reached readers across the sectarian divide.

Now it is proposing that the notices should appear in a number of weekly and free newspapers. The dailies argued that the move would deny the public access to information about planning issues.

A spokespman for the three newspaper groups said: "This is an important first step in seeking to reverse a decision that detrimentally affects the public interest of those living and working in the greater Belfast area."

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