The successful court action brought by First Minister Arlene Foster against the decision of Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to approve BMAP deepens public confusion about the future planning of the Greater Belfast area. Question marks now surround both planning policies and land zonings for housing, retail and economic development. While media headlines focus on the John Lewis issue this is only one of the many implications of the decision which planners in Belfast and other new councils will be struggling to clarify in the coming months and years until they each put in place their own Local development Plans.
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Note: BMAP (Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan) covers not just Belfast but also large parts of Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down. It was approved by Minister Durkan in September 2014.