Exempt Churches from planning fees

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DUP MLA Gary Middleton has called on the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to make churches exempt from planning fees.

“Over recent weeks I have been working with local church members and representatives on planning related issues. The planning process can be an expensive one for groups and organisations who are already finding themselves restrained financially,” he said.

“I strongly believe that as with not-for-profit clubs and societies which already are exempt from paying planning fees, that churches should be exempt also.

“This would be of great assistance and will help lighten the financial burden.

“I welcome the announcement by the DoE Minister that he has asked his officials to instigate a review on this matter.

“I have written to the Minister to outline my support for such an initiative and to outline the views church members have expressed to me,” he added.