There have been calls for the Northern Ireland Executive to throw its full weight and support behind the £24 million Game of Thrones tourist attraction as it was formally approved on Wednesday.
The development – which would create close to 200 jobs – was given the go-ahead at the planning meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
Armagh I reported at the weekend the imminent granting of permission for both the attraction itself, to be based in Banbridge, and a separate park and ride facility adjacent to the Boulevard retail park.
With the planning committee endorsing the opinion to approve, one Banbridge councillor has welcomed the decision.
And he has called on the Executive now to do all it can given the potential spin-offs for the entire Northern Ireland economy.
Alliance Councillor Brian Pope, who chairs council’s economic development and regeneration committee, said that planning consent for the Game of Thrones attraction was “quite simply a game-changer for the local tourism industry and potentially great news for the local economy”.
He added: “I want to pay tribute to the whole team at Linen Mill Studios for their vision, aspiration and determination to take this significant project forward during these difficult economic times.
“I welcome the investment and potential large numbers of visitors to the area, the creation of local jobs and opportunities for our local economy.
“However, is it also important that the NI Executive supports and actively promotes this attraction given the positive impact it could have on the wider Northern Irish tourism market.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the local economy and the borough.
“Game of Thrones is an internationally recognised franchise, produced by one of the world’s largest television studios, HBO. It is a potential game-changer for the local economy and tourism market.”