National Trust goes to court to try and crush plans for golf resort

National Trust is going to court this week to try and stop a £100m golf club complex being built on landscape near the world-famous Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland.

The trust said it wanted to use High Court judicial review to challenge the planning consent for the resort at Runkerry, which is bang in the middle of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast world heritage site.

Last March the environment ministry approved the application for the resort on a 150ha site. The Bushmills Dunes resort will include an 18-hole championship course, clubhouse, golf academy, practice courses and a 120-bedroom hotel.

This triggered a counterattack from the trust, which argued the project would damage the landscape and environment. It was allowed to seek a judicial review and its outcome will be known later in the year.

The trust would not comment but in December wrote to its 60,000 Northern Ireland members explaining that world-heritage-site status was the highest conservation and heritage accolade that any place could achieve.

"As the guardians of the Giant’s Causeway world heritage site, we have a duty to care for it for ever. This is the context in which we have taken this judicial review. We believe such a development in this protected landscape is wrong.

"If this development is allowed to proceed in this special place, then the message is being despatched that nowhere in Northern Ireland, no matter how special or protected, is safe from development."

But the developer said its development would provide much-needed world-class tourism infrastructure on the North Antrim Coast. It also enjoyed "unanimous cross party political support" it said.


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