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National Trust plans legal challenge over Runkerry resort planning approval

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Image: The resort is planned for the Antrim coast

The Northern Ireland Executive's decision to approve a £100m golf and spa resort development on the North Antrim coast is to face a legal challenge from the National Trust (NT).

In February, environment minister Alex Attwood gave the green light for Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa after a long-running planning process lasting a number of years.

Located near the villages of Bushmills and Portballintrae, the resort is to incorporate a 120-bedroom hotel with conference and spa facilities, as well as an 18-hole golf course.

However, NT is seeking leave for a judicial review into the decision to approve the planned development on land between Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site.

A trust spokesperson said: "This is based on a recommendation by UNESCO - the body responsible for World Heritage designations - that there should be a buffer zone to protect the special landscape surrounding the Causeway.

"Having carefully considered all the information relating to the planning decision, there remain fundamental issues of concern. We therefore have no option but to seek leave for a judicial review, so that the decision could be given the fullest possible consideration."

According to the BBC, NT's decision to take legal action has been criticised by local MP Ian Paisley Jr, who raised concerns that further delay might deter private investment.

Paisley Jr told the broadcaster: "This was 12 years in the process, five ministers examined it, and it went through every conceivable twist and turn of consideration."

Details: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Image: Dave Green

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The Northern Ireland Executive's decision to approve a £100m golf and spa resort development on the North Antrim coast is to face a legal challenge from the National Trust (NT).
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