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Co Down Game Of Thrones £24m visitor studio tour likely to miss opening date

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Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge

Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge

What the Game Of Thrones tour to be located at the Co Down studios will look like when operational

What the Game Of Thrones tour to be located at the Co Down studios will look like when operational

What the Game Of Thrones tour to be located at the Co Down studios will look like when operational

What the Game Of Thrones tour to be located at the Co Down studios will look like when operational

Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge

A planned Game Of Thrones tourist attraction is likely to miss its opening date.

The £24m project based in Banbridge and expected to create 200 jobs was tipped to launch this autumn.

It has the backing of HBO, the film and production company behind the blockbuster TV show.

But the development at Linen Mill Studios on Castlewellan Road is still at the planning stage, casting serious doubt on its proposed opening date.

A tourism boss at Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council indicated there was still enthusiasm for the project. Some of the series was filmed at the Co Down studios.

According to news website ArmaghI, Brian Johnston, the council's head of tourism, arts and culture, told a workshop that the Game Of Thrones team were "still very positive about the development of the project".

Mr Johnston said they were still "heavily invested" in the project, and while they had hoped to open in October, it had not gone through the planning process yet.

The Linen Mills Studios did not respond to a request for comment from the Belfast Telegraph.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council yesterday said new documentation in support of the planning applications for a studio tour and a park and ride facility had been lodged on May 28.

"The amendments have been advertised in the local Press and consultation has taken place with consultees and neighbours this week," it added.

"The final decision on the application will rest with the planning and regulatory services committee."

Game Of Thrones, filmed at Titanic Studios and a string of other spots in Co Down and the north coast, has been the local film and TV industry's biggest success story.

Before the lockdown it had been a major boost to the tourist sector, with fans from all over the world flocking to locations associated with the series, from Ballintoy Harbour in Co Antrim to Castle Ward in Co Down.

This week Belfast Harbour said plans for a £45m extension to its film studios at Giant's Park was being kept "under review".

Belfast Harbour Studios was to host the filming of Viking revenge movie The Northman starring Nicole Kidman during the spring. The Covid-19 lockdown, however, has halted production on film and TV sets all over the world.

Asked about the expansion of Belfast Harbour Studios, a spokesman said: "We're still finalising the consenting process through Belfast City Council for the new extension, and in parallel we will keep our investment under review, taking into consideration the timing of recovery in the sector after the current crisis."

Belfast Telegraph