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Lafarge to transform quarry site

The UK’s longest zip line and an Olympic standard BMX bike track are set to transform a derelict quarry in Co Antrim into a paradise for adrenaline junkies by developer Lafarge Cement UK .

Northern Ireland’s first permanent bungee jump platform is also among the attractions proposed for a £9.5M outdoor recreation area on the former cement works at Magheramorne on the shore of Larne Lough.

Developer Lafarge Cement UK is due to start construction work at Magheramorne next year.

The company’s rating and regeneration manager Lloyd McInally said: “We welcome this study which firmly backs the Magheramorne site as having the potential to be a fantastic mountain biking and other sporting activities venue.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) to progress plans for this as part of our overall aims for the whole site.”

The plan is part of the wider £100M blueprint to transform the 153ha site into an environmentally friendly harbour village.

As well as around 450 homes the quarry will host restaurants, shops, a community centre, a hotel, a harbour-side tourist point with viewing tower and boating facilities

While the regeneration project was announced by the Government last year, a feasibility study has now outlined what visitors can look forward to in the recreation area - a facility that could inject £1.5M into the local economy each year.

A centrepiece will be an expansive bike park that could potentially incorporate seven downhill trails from an easy “blue” grade through to the extreme “double-black” trails, totalling over six miles.

As well as the 400m Olympic track, there is also space for a 21km cross-country circuit and a full mountain biking skills area.

The study, conducted by CAAN, also outlined proposals for a range of adrenaline activities including the zip line, a high ropes course and a man-made abseiling tower.

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