Rates shock

Thursday, 5 October 2017

BALLYMENA ratepayers will have to foot their share of a legal bill of close to a quarter of a million pounds associated with an exploratory drilling project at Woodburn.
A judge recently dismissed a High Court challenge over Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's decision to permit development rights for exploratory works at the site near Carrickfergus.
The council's stance regarding the works was determined to be right and proper and its actions upheld.
The judge also found that it was not in the public interest to further hear the application for a judicial review, as there is now no development taking place at the site, which has been restored to its original condition.
Judicial Review proceedings had been issued against the Council, following the transfer of planning powers and Council instructed a firm of solicitors appointed through a public procurement tender process.
Last night (Monday), the council released details of the legal bill run up to date in defending its position.
The legal costs to Council are 241,000 - money that could otherwise have been used to improve services and facilities for residents throughout the Borough.
There is also a substantial additional cost associated with staff time in dealing with queries - time diverted from frontline service delivery.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.


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