29/02/2008

Causeway Could 'See More' Of Sweeney

Controversial private developer Seymour Sweeney is appealing against the decision to refuse planning permission for his visitors' centre at the Giants Causeway.

Mr Sweeney's company, Seaport NI Ltd, said the reasons for the refusal were "not sustainable".

Previously Environment Minister Arlene Foster had said she was "minded" to approve the plans. However, in January she said the proposal would have an "adverse impact on the world heritage site".

"There are serious doubts that the proposed development would adequately integrate into the landscape and it would add to the spread of development at this sensitive location," she told the assembly.

Following the rejection of the plans in January, a spokesman for Mr Sweeney's company, Seaport NI Ltd, said: "We firmly believe that the scheme proposed, combined with the additional flexibility for infrastructural improvements afforded by our land ownership in the vicinity, addresses all the social, economic and environmental issues presented."

The Causeway, Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site, attracts nearly 500,000 visitors a year.

The previous visitors' centre on the site burned down in April 2000.

(VB/JM)

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