Visitor centre for Giant's Causeway

by Tom Walker | 16 Jun 2008

Work on a new visitors centre at UNESCO world heritage site Giant’s Causeway could begin in autumn 2009 for a spring 2011 opening if a planning application by the National Trust is approved by the end of this year.

The National Trust, which is working on the scheme in partnership with Moyle District Council, also announced it will be committing £6m to the project to replace the previous visitors centre, which burned down in 2000.

“This significant investment coupled with our ability to lever other funding sources will mean the cost to government and the taxpayer looks set to be less than half of the £21 million previously anticipated,” said Hilary McGrady, the trust’s director for Northern Ireland.

The start date for construction in autumn 2009 is also dependent upon funding being in place and tendering complete, she added.

The BBC reported that the trust has asked the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for a grant of £9m towards the project, and that Enterprise, Trade and Investment minister Arlene Foster said she would give the application urgent attention.

Dublin-based heneghan.peng.architects was selected as designer for the project after an international competition in 2005.

McGrady said the visitor facilities will have “a strong environmental basis and a focus on sustainability, with no additional green field development.”

She added: “We are confident this planning application and the proposal we have mapped out will deliver the key objectives set out by the former Enterprise Minister, Nigel Dodds: a solution which will protect the integrity of the world heritage site in line with UNESCO’s requirements, provide world-class visitor facilities, will be good value to the public and will be timely.”

Work on a new visitors centre at UNESCO world heritage site Giant’s Causeway could begin in autumn 2009 for a spring 2011 opening if a planning application by the National Trust is approved by the end of this year. The National Trust, which is working on the scheme in partnership with Moyle District Council, also announced it will be committing £6m to the project to replace the previous visitors centre,
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