Giant’s Causeway dispute heightens

The plot thickens over the controversial plan to build a golf course and hotel complex  at Runkerry just outside the perimeter of the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage site. Now UNESCO which awards this designation  is weighing in behind the National Trust to try to stop it. From memory this is land the behind the lovely beach that stretches from just outside Portballintrae beginning at the brackish outflow of the river Bush. Would the beach be closed off too I wonder? The local weekenders won’t be pleased if it is/ (nevin if he’s reading this will put me right on all this no doubt).

The dispute is a classic case of development versus heritage on a coast which so easily could become wrecked and yet is such a joy to visit. Personally I’d love to see an upgrade of the sprawl behind Royal Portrush and the rebirth of the shabby town itself. They  put a brave face on it for the Irish Open. Good luck to them in their bid for the British Open  but it still seems a tall order.  No doubt developing the Portrush area would be a far more daunting proposition than the spectacular greenfield site along the coast. These projects are never easy, as billionaire Donald Trump is discovering in Aberdeenshire. Will the Ulster natives fare better than the American blow-in? Is there nowhere along the coast to the east a bit where this scheme could be sited?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London