Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and member of the Stormont Agriculture and Culture Committees, has challenged Environment Minister Alex Attwood to “come clean and make a statement to the Assembly on the future of development in the Causeway Coast area”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman, said: “Following the Minister’s announcement on the Bushmills Dunes development, I hope he will come to the Stormont Chamber and answer the many questions arising from his decision.
“While the development of the golf course, the expected increase in tourism and the construction jobs are to be welcomed, many in the local community are confused as to how 75 holiday villas have been approved when their own applications to refurbish buildings into holiday lets have been rejected on the grounds that they are premature in respect of the Northern Area Plan.
“Minister Attwood must come to the Chamber and tell us how he will level the playing field. The purpose of the Northern Area Plan is to guide development in the period up to the year 2016.
“At this point it seems doubtful that the Plan will be introduced by the time it is out of date.
“He should also brief my fellow MLAs on the discussions his department has had with Roads Service about how much the developer will contribute to enhancing the road infrastructure in the Causeway area.
“We already have the possibility of increased tourist traffic to the new Causeway Visitors’ Centre on a road network that is already under strain. Here is a great opportunity to enhance the local infrastructure with the help of a developer who will benefit financially from the improved access,” stressed Assemblyman Swann.