Appeal victory for Bushmills Dunes


Sean Dudley

The proposed Bushmills Dunes golf resort, to be located close to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, is now set to go forward, after a judge threw out an appeal by the National Trust against the government's decision to grant planning consent.

The Trust applied for, and was granted, a judicial review of Northern Ireland minister Alex Attwood's 2012 decision, alleging that UNESCO World Heritage Site regulations had not been properly followed during the decade-long planning process. Sitting in the High Court in Belfast, after a month-long hearing, Mr Justice Weatherup today dismissed the appeal, and reaffirmed Attwood's decision to grant consent.

But today's decision may not mean that the course will immediately move into construction. Developer Alistair Hanna is believed to be seeking further investment for the project, with Bandon Dunes boss Mike Keiser one name that has been mentioned as being interested.

The course, which will partially be set within natural sand dunes, and partially on farmland, is to be designed by David McLay Kidd. Kidd told GCA he hoped to win round objectors. “I am thrilled that over 10 years of perseverance has at last paid off for the development team at Bushmills,” he said. “I believe once the course is in play the concerns from the National Trust and others will be alleviated as they see how the course we envisage can be created and maintained such that it doesn’t diminish this landscape, in fact protects it for the future. This is more than just words as evidenced by our ongoing relationship with Scottish Natural Heritage by work at Machrihanish Dunes, we can now do the same at Bushmills Dunes.”