Seat_&_Access_Route_Thru_Dunes Whiterocks.jpg

beach access, facilities & improvements

Improving Visitor Experience in Portrush & Along North Coast

economic appraisal: whiterocks, castlerock & Portballintrae

Coleraine Borough Council sought a strategic public realm scheme across three separate sites, with majority funding sought from NITB and RDP. Each site needed – to vary extents – improved car-parking, vehicular flows, visitor information/facilities and pedestrian access, as well as increased protection for the coastal environment. This involved balancing environmental, health & safety, tourism and local community needs and prioritising, phasing and co-ordinating development options. CBC required a broad economic appraisal completed within 3 weeks.

McGarry Consulting delivered the appraisal in the tight timeframe, with White Rocks and Castlerock subsequently being developed to widespread praise. 



This involved an economic appraisal into the environmental improvement of the coastal walkway from East Strand Car-Park along the East Strand. This would necessitate car-park and sea-defence improvements and link in with recent regeneration projects (e.g. Arcadia) and future developments in the Western end of the town.

The aim was to vastly improve the areas tourism infrastructure with the hope of acting as a catalyst for local business investment and tourism opportunities. The pictures below illustrate the subsequent success of the scheme, which is not only much safer but also now home to more visitors and events (e.g. Parkrun, the first beach parkrun in the world).

McGarry Consulting were called upon to help with the North Coast beaches, based on their ability to work quickly, facilitate community consultations, and secure funding. They were also chosen, as team members had previously worked on the economic appraisals for successful Newcastle Promenade Scheme (phases I & II).



The pictures show the need to protect dunes, provide dedicated pathways, improve car-park and dune boundaries. There was also the contentious issue of cars going onto the beach, and the risks to the environment and cars getting stick. The proposed EI scheme was implemented and successfully addressed many of these challenges; and created a place that locals and visitors continue to love.

WHITEROCKS - EI SCHEME (pre-completion)

Whiterocks is 1.5miles from Portrush East Strand, and is popular with visitors, families, surfers and walkers. It has a narrow access road that can get very busy. The Council sought to improve facilities, parking, access and walkways; and address dunes degradation. McGarry Consulting helped the project secure funding, and was glad to see the project delivered successfully.