Magheramorne Quarry and Works Site Redevelopment
Redundant works and quarry to be transformed into a major recreational and leisure attraction in Northern Ireland.
To find a sustainable rehabilitation solution able to meet local needs for economic regeneration.
Quarrying and lime/cement manufacture began at the Magheramorne site in 1794 and finished in 2001. The closure of the quarry left a 153-hectare site available for restoration and development. The site is located on the shore of Larne Lough, 22 miles north of Belfast.
Former Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson approved plans submitted by Lafarge in May 2006 which will see the bulk of the 153-hectare site transformed into a major recreational and leisure attraction with a World Cycling Centre as one of the central features. The Centre aims to be one of the best venues in Europe for downhill mountain biking and is expected to play host to televised World Cup events.
An All-Ireland Scuba Diving Centre, taking advantage of a large lake in the quarry, also features amongst the recreational and leisure elements, as does a short heritage railway line and historic railway visitor centre for the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. The plans also include many opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the outlook over the lough.
On 15 hectares of the site, on land where the cement works buildings once operated, a new 450-dwelling harbour village is to be created. Buildings here will be at the forefront of eco-friendly design and will follow WWF's One Plant Initiative aims. Lafarge is to forego all profit it would ordinarily receive from obtaining residential land values on this part of the site in order to help subsidise additional costs associated with the ultra-green development as well as to help with the establishment of the recreational and leisure uses which would not otherwise be viable operations.
Also included in the future plans for the site is land for the establishment of international film and television studios. Over the past five years, both the old works area and the quarry have been used for a variety of productions including the BBC's thriller Messiah.
On the future timetable for the project, Lloyd McInally, who has project managed the plans for Magheramorne, says: "Now that we have the confidence of having obtained an outline planning permission, we will be continuing our discussions more intensely with the many organisations we have established contact with during the last few years. Then we will move towards the submission of detailed plans for approval by the authorities. I would like to think that some development work could start on the site in 2010."
Lafarge Cement UK, former Magheramorne Works site, Larne Lough, Northern Ireland