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UNESCO enters Northern Ireland resort planning dispute

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Image: The resort will be near the Giant's Causeway

UNESCO is to call for a new resort scheme in Northern Ireland to be halted until its impact on the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site has been "properly assessed".

Plans for the £100m (US$157m, EUR124m) Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa secured approval from Northern Ireland's environment minister Alex Attwood in February.

The development - including a 120-bedroom hotel with spa and conference facilities and an 18-hole golf course - is to be located near the villages of Bushmills and Portballintrae.

However, the National Trust recently revealed it would be seeking leave for a judicial review of the decision to approve the project - sited near the province's sole World Heritage Site.

It now appears UNESCO is requesting the World Heritage Committee asks the government to halt the project in order to allow for a "proper assessment" of its potential impact.

The committee is meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, between 24 June and 6 July. The agenda includes UNESCO's call in relation to Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa.

The draft decision contained within the agenda said: "[The committee] requests the state party [of the UK] to halt the proposed development of a golf resort at the World Heritage property Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast until its potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property has been assessed."

Details: www.unesco.org (Agenda document) (.pdf)

Details: www.unesco.org (Agenda details)

Image: Dave Green

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UNESCO is to call for a new resort scheme in Northern Ireland to be halted until its impact on the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site has been "properly assessed".
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