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Thursday24 July 2014

Watchdog to lobby for Causeway centre

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Northern Ireland’s newly established design watchdog has renewed its efforts to ensure Heneghan Peng’s Giant’s Causeway visitors’ centre is built.

At the second meeting of the Ministerial Advisory Group last week, the group voted unanimously to lobby environment minister Arlene Foster to reject a rival privately backed application designed by Coleraine-based practice Studio Rogers, which would sound the death knell for Heneghan Peng’s competition-winning scheme.

The move came as the planning service finalised its meetings with those behind the private scheme and began a report set to be used by Foster to make a final decision.

Foster said in September she was “minded” to back the Studio Rogers design for the world heritage site over the Heneghan Peng design.

Barrie Todd, chair of MAG, said: “Heneghan Peng’s scheme has gone through the rigorous process of an international design competition and we give this our full support, a decision that we didn’t take lightly.

“We are very young as a group and if the decision goes against our recommendations then our reputation will plummet. Our credibility and reputation are on the line here.”

Foster is expected to make her final decision next month.

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