Foster refuses application for Causeway Visitors' Centre
Published on Tue, 29 Jan 2008
Environment Minister Arlene Foster today announced to the Assembly that she has decided to refuse the Seaport Investments plan for a Giants Causeway visitor centre.
This follows a report from the Planning Service into concerns that the Minister expressed when she stated last September that she saw merit in the proposal and was of a mind to approve it. She asked her planning experts to question the developer, the National Trust, and Moyle District Council on these issues and report back before any decision would be made.
The aspects of the proposal that the Minister referred for further consideration were its impact on the World Heritage Site, its ability to integrate into the landscape, its relationship to other development in the area and its relationship to the existing visitor centre.
The Minister said today: “My officials’ discussions with the key stakeholders have now been completed and I have received their report on those, as well as their reassessment of the application in light of the outcome.
“I am convinced that the proposal as it stands would have an adverse impact on the World Heritage Site as I believe that it could adversely affect the character of the area. There are serious doubts that the proposed development would adequately integrate into the landscape and it would add to the spread of development at this sensitive location.
“Although I still see merit in the proposal, I consider that this does not outweigh the planning concerns that I continue to have about it and which clearly are not capable of being addressed to my satisfaction. I have therefore concluded on balance, and on further reflection, that the application should be refused.”