RPS nets lead roles in Northern Ireland

RPS's Northern Ireland planning and environment team has scooped two high-profile projects in the province.

The firm has been chosen to provide planning and environmental advice on the proposed Olympic water sports centre at Portadown. It will work for Consarc Design Group, which won the overall tender from regeneration agency Portadown 2000.

The proposal aims to regenerate the River Bann Meadows area by providing an exemplar sporting arena designed to Olympic standards. The premier training and competition venue will provide facilities for up to five Olympic and one Paralympic sport and feature a rowing and canoeing lake.

The firm has also been appointed by Larne Borough Council to submit plans for the restoration of the derelict and inaccessible Gobbins cliff path at Islandmagee in County Antrim.

The 1,200m stretch of paths, bridges and tunnels along the base of the cliff originally opened in 1902 and became a popular tourist attraction. But it fell into a state of disrepair and was closed in 1954. The council is developing proposals to reinstate the network and reopen it to visitors.

Meanwhile, a trading update from the group noted that growth in the energy and environmental management sectors is continuing to compensate for a downturn in planning and development activity in the UK.

It confirms the trend reported earlier this year that the economic slump was causing the company to turn its attention to opportunities in the energy markets (Planning, 8 August, p8).

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