Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Bushmills planning shambles was par for the course

The worst feature of Bushmills Dunes golf course and associated accommodation is the 10 years it lay in planning limbo.



Long planning battles are a major blot on our economic landscape. They resulted in the fire sale of CastleCourt by a company that wanted to expand to one that is unlikely to, they frustrated John Lewis and they have created a chill factor for other investors.

Alex Attwood deserves praise for cutting the knot in this instance and unlocking £100m-worth of investment. It has been broadly welcomed by other parties.

The National Trust's objections are hard to fathom. The hotel and golf course will be at least a mile from the Giant's Causeway. The trust owns the Causeway Hotel, which is right beside it and far more visible. However, it is looked on as an asset, because it has been there for a long time.

It is easy to forget that, if the area was left as nature intended, it would be trackless wildwood, with the causeway approachable only by sea.

In the 18th century, Dr Johnson found the Causeway approachable only by boat.

In those circumstances, he warned tourists, it was worth seeing, but not worth going to see. There was nothing to do.

Hopefully, the new development will make it worth staying on.

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