Giant's Causeway resort: Construction to begin in autumn

Dan Stanton reports for BBC Newsline

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The developer behind the £100m golf and hotel resort near the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim said he hopes work will start this autumn.

The National Trust failed in a court challenge to block the resort at Runkerry, because of its proximity to the Unesco world heritage site.

It brought a judicial review after Environment Minister Alex Attwood granted planning permission.

Dr Alastair Hannah is delighted the project will go ahead.

"We are very excited indeed," he told the BBC.

"We think the judge did a tremendous job. He was able to very quickly get to grips with all of this and he didn't keep us waiting a long time.

"We had expected it would be another month before we had the result".

Hotel

He has said it will be one of the "most spectacular golf developments ever seen in Ireland".

"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," he said.

Mr Attwood approved the plan to build the complex in February 2012.

The development, on a 365-acre site, is to be known as Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa.

The plan includes an 18-hole golf course, a five-star 120-bedroom hotel and 70 golf lodges.

Last year, it was reported that the project could create up to 360 new jobs.

However, the trust had argued that the minister should have consulted Unesco before making his decision as it could affect the Causeway's status as a world heritage site.

During the judicial review hearing last month, a lawyer for the trust claimed the minister had been improperly advised.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Weatherup rejected all grounds of challenge to Mr Attwood's decision.

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