Golf Course To Be Built Next To Unesco World Heritage Site In Northern Ireland
The construction of a £100M ($151M) golf resort next to Northern Ireland’s only Unesco world heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway, "has been given the go-ahead following a high-profile court case that pitted conservation against development," according to Jamie Smyth of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Belfast High Court on Wednesday "dismissed a judicial review by the National Trust seeking to overturn the granting of planning permission for the luxury resort." The judgment paves the way for work to begin on an 18-hole championship golf course, clubhouse, golf academy, a five-star 120-bedroom hotel, 75 golf lodges and "a spa beside a geological phenomenon known as the Giant’s Causeway." The Unesco world heritage site "is made up of 40,000 huge black basalt columns sticking out of the sea" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/27).
IN FOR THE LONG HAUL: The London TELEGRAPH reported that the ruling "was a personal triumph" for the US-based Northern Ireland businessman Dr. Alistair Hanna who is heading up the investment and advisory group involved in the Bushmills Dunes golf resort and spa scheme, and which he claims "could create up to 360 direct jobs and an estimated 300 more through suppliers and construction." Hanna was not in court for Wednesday's judgment, but afterwards "declared work would begin as soon as possible." It is "likely to begin towards the end of the summer and take at least two years, maybe three, to complete" (TELEGRAPH, 2/27). The BBC reported Hanna said it will be one of the "most spectacular golf developments ever seen in Ireland." Hanna: "Not only will the resort provide a world-class golf links course and facilities attracting thousands of visitors each year, it will also protect the vulnerable topography of the coastal area which has been left vulnerable following decades of neglect." The resort "is to be known as Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa" (BBC, 2/28).