Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Ugly Causeway visitors' centre is certainly no natural wonder

Giant's Causeway visitors' centre

People don't like to mention it but the National Trust's new visitors centre at the Giant's Causeway isn't just expensive, it's actually plug ugly.

To find a similar blot on the causeway coast landscape, you would have to drive 26 miles down the road to Magilligan prison.

We are told that the mined black basalt columns echo the causeway's natural brown ones and the whole thing was the result of an international competition to reduce impact on the landscape.

That is as maybe, and the grass covered roof somewhat reduces its impact, but it still looks like a jail.

The structure sticks out like a sore thumb beside the Causeway Hotel, which is also owned by the Trust but was built in the 19th century. If the hotel was proposed now, the Trust might well have opposed planning permission as they did in the case of the Bushmills Downs golf club. It is doubtful if they would have countenanced Mussenden being constructed on the unspoilt coast if they had been consulted by Bishop Hervey when he built it in 1785. The Trust likes to lecture us on aesthetics, and they do maintain many historic buildings.

Yet this brutal, over-priced carbuncle shows they shouldn't be allowed to construct anything innovative near an area of natural beauty.

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