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Game of Thrones project likely to get green light, says council

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Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones which was mainly filmed across Northern Ireland

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones which was mainly filmed across Northern Ireland

Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage

Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones which was mainly filmed across Northern Ireland

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough's Council Head of Tourism is confident the borough's Game of Thrones project will become a reality.

Speaking during August's meeting of council's economic development and regeneration committee, Brian Johnston said he had "lots of confidence" in the project.

During discussions on the borough's need for a five-star hotel, Mr Johnston said council was mindful that if these facilities do not exist and if the Game of Thrones project arrives, it could end up as a revenue generator for Belfast and Dublin rather than the local area.

Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage agreed that a five-star hotel is important for the area, but quizzed the head of tourism, arts and culture on his choice of phrase.

"On the Game of Thrones project, you said 'if'," said the Deputy Lord Mayor. "What is the progress on that project?"

In response, Mr Johnston said council was continuing discussions with the developers about the project.

"We are continuing to work with the partners," he said.

"In terms of promotion and sales they are having to look at their business model and projected visitor numbers.

"They had been talking about 600,000 visitors per year and are looking at that again, looking at what has happened to visitor attractions like Titanic Belfast and that is the right thing to do.

"Having said that, they are still very confident in this product.

"We just don't know, in terms of airlines, how many visitors will be travelling from overseas but the 'if' was not an 'if'.

"We have lots of confidence that this project will become a reality and we are very much on top of that."

The neighbour consultation phase of a planning application relating to the proposed Game of Thrones Studio Tour finished on August 6.

A spokesperson for the council said no date has been set for applications relating to the project to appear before the council's planning committee.

"Planning applications LA08/2019/1660/F [park and ride facility at Cascum Avenue, Banbridge] and LA08/2019/1663/F [Game of Thrones themed studio tour at 245 Castlewellan Road, Banbridge] both remain under consideration by the council," said the spokesperson.

"At the time of writing, no date for the applications to be heard by the council's planning and regulatory services committee has been agreed."

Belfast Telegraph