In brief: There has seen a substantial rise .

There has seen a substantial rise in the number of cases heard by Northern Ireland's Planning Appeals Commission (PAC), according to its annual report last week. Chief commissioner John Warke said that appeals received in 2003-04 increased by more than 50 per cent on the previous year and admitted that this has put pressure on staff and commissioners to meet targets. He pointed out that an examination of all appeal decisions revealed a near 50-50 split between positive and negative rulings. Chief Commissioner's Annual Report is available from the PAC (tel) 028 9024 4710.

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