Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter lose Planning Service adverts

An interesting announcement today from the Planning Service, offically part of the brief held by David Cairns, MP [he wears some other hats too – Ed]. Apparently as a result of the review of advertising by the NIO, from 9 October Planning Service will no longer be paying to advertise in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter.. and they’ve revealed the new list of newspaper titles where adverts will be placed including, given recent events in the local media, some additions which may be of interest to certain individualsThe Planning Service statement

The Planning Service is changing the way it advertises planning notices in the Greater Belfast area.

From 9 October details of new planning applications received for the Belfast City, Castlereagh Borough and Newtownabbey Borough Councils areas will be published in local weekly papers.

A spokesperson for the Planning Service explained: “We are committed to providing an efficient and effective service to our customers. This change follows a review of government advertising policy and aims to ensure value for money. It brings planning advertising in Headquarters and Belfast Division into line with the other divisional offices around Northern Ireland which already advertise in local weekly papers.

“Planning issues have a strong local focus and it is important that information on applications is published in ways which can be accessed at a local level.

“We continue to use the Neighbour Notification Scheme. Details of all new applications are also available on the Planning Service website .”

also reveals the list of outlets where those adverts will be placed in future…

1. The Planning Service will no longer be paying to advertise in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter. The weekly planning lists for the Belfast Divisional Planning Office will be published in the following titles from week commencing 9 October:

Belfast City Council area:

Andersonstown News
North Belfast News
South Belfast News
Belfast News
Community Telegraph (North)
Community Telegraph (South)
Community Telegraph (East/Central)
Castlereagh Borough Council area:
Belfast News
South Belfast News
Community Telegraph (East/Central)

Newtownabbey Borough Council area:
Newtownabbey Times.
North Belfast News
Community Telegraph (North)

2. Applications processed in Headquarters, which are of local relevance, will also be advertised in relevant local weekly newspapers.


  • southbelfastnewsman

    strange decision.

    i live in the south of the city. i choose not to buy the South Belfast News (cause its shit) and i don’t get the Community Telegraph delivered any longer. (and its shit too). I have never heard of Belfast News – but i buy the Telegraph and Irish News every day.

    it would be intersting to read the rationale for this and their statement contains none.

  • Crataegus

    will be published in local weekly papers.

    Who the hell reads that crap and local papers in Belfast don’t cover entire areas. You could have an interest in Castlereagh and live in Newtownabbey or the paper be aimed at one section of the community. Typical asinine decision by the Planning Service.

    If it is value for money they are worried about try looking at the outrageous planning fees that they themselves charge and the utterly crap service they offer applicants.

  • Pete Baker

    I must admit my first questions, not answered by the press statement, were – what is the difference in cost when these adverts are spread across the new list of titles?… and where’s the confirmation – or even the attempt to check – that a wider, or even a more local, audience will be reached in comparison?

  • Hercules

    This decision would seem to be irrational, even on their own terms on the basis of monitored distribution (I would imagine).

    I regularly get phoned by someone asking me do I get the Community Telegraph for my area and I say no.

    Doesn’t make a difference. I still don’t get it.

  • Alan Sheeran

    So we are finally seeing the fruits of Mr Grimason’s review of Advertising. I first noticed this in the Minutes of the Permanent Secretaries Group – see

    This seems to be a none too smart move by the Planning Service. Around a year and a half ago, Resident’s Groups in South Belfast raised issues about not being informed of local developments. In effect the Planning Service admitted that they did not inform anyone, including individuals with locus standi, of applications to alter passed plans. The result was that 2 storey blocks of flats became 3 storey’s without local knowledge etc.

    People have a reason for buying the Telegraph, other than looking for planning applications. They don’t have a good reason for buying the smaller papers. Some areas, including my own, get them free on an occasional basis, but there seems to be no rhyme nor reason why particular streets are chosen. More than half of the area doesn’t get them.

    This decision will only help developers and hinder local people trying to prevent the distruction of their residential amenity. Time to pull the plug on this, Mr Cairns. Greenock wouldn’t like it either.

  • Nevin

    Alan, thanks for the PSG link. What do you make of this quote?

    “Belfast Telegraph

    Nigel Hamilton said he and Stephen Grimason had a very useful and constructive meeting with the Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday past. It was agreed at the meeting that Martin Lindsey would speak regularly with Stephen Grimason.”


  • Comrade Stalin

    Who the hell reads that crap and local papers in Belfast don’t cover entire areas. You could have an interest in Castlereagh and live in Newtownabbey or the paper be aimed at one section of the community. Typical asinine decision by the Planning Service.

    It’s asinine anyway. The newspapers here aren’t great and I usually don’t buy them. Even if I did, would I scour the planning ads each day “just in case” something was happening that I would be interested in ? It’s like those morbid people who buy the paper just to read the death notices to see who’s dead.

    The system they have in the Republic is actually a lot better. Down there, you’re required to fix a notice to the front of the property/land being developed giving your name and describing the changes. That way, everyone nearby will know that there’s something up and will have a chance to have their say.

  • brendan,belfast

    “Edgar Jardine distributed a pack of brochires on W5 at the Odyssey and suggested it is a good location for seminars etc”

    amazing – these are the top civil servants in the land and this is how they spend their time.

    And if Andrew McCormick the Perm Sec at Health raised issues about how Trust Directors were appointed, sholdnt the minutes of the meeting tell us what the concerns are / were?

  • rapunsel

    Seems like a crap decision all right. Best to have planning notices for Belfast and surrounds in a small number of titles. The local weekly Belfast papers ( apart form Andersonstown News, at least so I am told) are generally devoid of local stories when compared to regional weeklies. Are many of these titles not owned by the telegraph and newsletter anyway? — the value for money argument wouldn’t really hold too much water. Expect the weeklies’ advertising rates to rise in due course as they will have a monopoly on posting these notices.

  • Myreve Chambers

    I am not surprised that the Planning Service are changing the way they advertise it is certainly not to save money or to get into the heart of the community with local advertising, it is simply down to the fact that they want to let as few people as possible know about planning applications in the locality to cut down objectors etc as the papers used for Castlereagh are not read by the majority as they are republican papers and as for the Community Telegraph have not sent on delivered in Newtownbreda area for years but they can be found dumped in area of the Borough. True Blue

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    The question, of course, should be asked – but won’t be given the vested interests of some of the posters here – why the likes of the Andersonstown News etc were excluded from getting planning notices up to now.

    Poliltical expediency perhaps…..

  • Crataegus

    Oilbhar Chromaill

    So you think a planning application in Highfield of Shankill should be advertised in the Anderstown News?

  • Crataegus

    should be or Shankill above