The Northern Irish High Court has overturned planning rules designed to stop piecemeal development in the region’s countryside.

Mr Justice Gillen ruled last week that Lord Rooker, who was minister for rural development before the resumption of self rule in May, was wrong to issue his moratorium on isolated rural dwellings in Northern Ireland’s planning policy statement 14 (PPS14).

The judge accepted Omagh council’s argument that the Northern Irish Department of the Environment should have issued the document because it shapes planning policy.

PPS14 has been opposed by farmers who have relied on selling off plots of land to boost their flagging incomes.

Arlene Foster, minister for rural development in the devolved Northern Irish government, said she would not make any decision on the future of PPS14 until later this week when Mr Justice Gillen will issue a “remedies hearing” to determine the way forward.