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Council to send delegation to First Minister over Maze

LISBURN City Council has heard legal advice on whether it can challenge Sports Minister Gregory Campbell's decision to scrap plans for a National Stadium at the Maze.

Councillors went into committee on Monday night to hear from a solicitor and will now consider the advice before deciding whether to pursue the case. Chief Executive Norman Davidson suggested the Council consider carefully the costs of any legal challenge.

And Councillor Trevor Lunn proposed that before any legal challenge began the Council should gather all the required information. He said: "Proceed with caution if at all. I get the feeling this is quite pointless."

Alderman Jim Dillon seconded Mr Lunn's proposal and the members agreed that information should be gathered.

The Chief Executive also recommended that information surrounding the issue should be gathered so a judgement could be formed on whether to pursue a case.

The chairman of the Council's Planning Committee Councillor Bill Gardiner-Watson advised the members that a full special meeting was required so a decision could not be made there and then. Councillor Paul Givan suggested a letter expressing disappointment about the Stadium rumours should be sent to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and Alderman Edwin Poots said a letter should also be sent to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure as well as OFMDFM with a list of questions, including what proposals will be put in place and what the Executive's commitment to the site is.

"Then we can take it from there," said Mr Poots.

This proposal was unanimously agreed after being seconded by Mr Givan. Alderman Jeffrey Donaldson, who is also a junior minister in the Executive, proposed a delegation should go from the Council to meet with the First Minister to seek clarification as to "where this is going for Lisburn". This was seconded by Mr Lunn and accepted by members.

Mr Donaldson commented: "Before we embark on judicial review we need to look hard at this as the Maze is a valuable site. While doing this we need to engage with government to see how we can deliver for this city.

"We have to give leadership. We need to get a plan and back it. We want to see the site developed and we are not giving up. The debate on the Stadium is not over and even if this proves to be a temporary setback we need to pick ourselves up. Unity is the key."

Ulster Star