Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

New pier would aid our bid for the Open

It's a radical concept which appears to have more in common with Abu Dhabi than the north coast.

Portrush plays host to the Irish Open this week but now the team behind Belfast’s latest tourist attraction, Titanic Belfast, have given the town’s coastline a redesign — hoping their outside-the-box thinking could help the Co Antrim town become a worthy home to the Open itself for the first time in over 60 years.

According to designers, Belfast-based Todd Architects, the concept is a modern take on the traditional seaside pier, running from the East Strand to Ramore Head.

The pier would have a central zone of pavilions serving as retail kiosks, with ice-cream, tea shops and fish and chips.

The firm’s managing director Paul Crowe said that while it was a bit of “blue sky thinking” the idea was “not completely off the radar”.

“It’s trying to think outside the box but I have no doubt you could turn this into a commercial venture,” he added.

“We have a pier, a coastline boardwalk for pedestrians.

“But the focal point is the elliptical structure in the middle — it could be a safe park in the sea, like an outdoor pool structure.”

And the cost?

Crowe said a ball park figure could be anywhere between £30m and £50m.

“It’s not completely off the radar,” he added.

“It could really start a debate for Portrush as to what would help it capture the Northern Irish tourist market, but also the Open — which is the big prize.”

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