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Ruling Expected Soon on Proposed Golf Resort near Giants Causeway
A proposed golf resort near the famous Giants Causeway on Northern Ireland's North Coast is under review by a judge.
Justice Weatherup is expected to render his decision at the High Court in Belfast. Weatherup held a judicial review in January, during which he heard submissions by legal representatives for the National Trust.
The Trust filed a legal challenge to approval by Northern Ireland Environment Minister Alex Attwood, claiming the project would have a huge environmental impact on one of the country's top tourist attractions.
The £100-million project has been in planning for over 10 years. Backed by Dr. Alistair Hanna, the Northern Ireland businessman based in the U.S. wants to develop the Bushmills Dunes Golf and Spa resort. The facility would be built just outside the village of Bushmills, in County Antrim, and could create 360 jobs, with an estimated 300 more involved in the construction.
Since the beginning, the National Trust has opposed the project, whose site is a mile and a half from the famed Causeway, a spectacular area containing over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
The Trust has said, though it is not opposed to golf or development, it is against the project as it's located within the four-kilometer protection zone that Unesco has placed around the stones, which are a World Heritage Site.
If Justice Weatherup rules in favor of the project, and Minister Attwood grants final approval, Dr. Hanna said that the golf course and adjoining hotel could be completed in late 2015.