Published Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Runkerry is between Bushmills and the Giant''s Causeway on the north coast. (© UTV)
UNESCO has said it intends to ask the UK government to stop any building plans for the £100m development until the potential impact could be assessed.
Green MLA Steven Agnew said the organisation must have its say about the site.
"The fact that this application has been in process for 12 years and no one thought to consult with UNESCO, I find incredible," he said.
"It's a huge mistake on the part of a number of ministers who have had the application in front of them.
"This site is of significance because it has been identified as of global importance so to just go through this huge process of a planning application without at least seeking the advice of UNESCO seems ludicrous."
The 350 acre development called Bushmills Dunes, which was granted planning permission by Environment Minister Alex Attwood in February, is set to include a championship links golf course, a five-star 120-bedroom hotel and 75 villas.
Mr Attwood has defended his decision and has called on UNESCO to "come and see the site for themselves", adding that he is confident that he can put their minds at ease.
The SDLP minister said: "In coming to my decision to grant approval, I considered extensively the potential environmental and heritage impacts on the area, including on the World Heritage site at the Giant's Causeway.
"The assessment made and the scale of the safeguards I required as conditions of the planning permission, mean that the heritage value of the Giant's Causeway area has been protected and will be seen to be protected.
"I have previously said, and repeat now that this offers firm reassurances to any who may question the decision on environmental or heritage grounds.
"Given this, if they come to Northern Ireland, I would welcome them here, meet with them, visit the site, and allow them to reassure themselves around the detail of how environmental and heritage issues have been managed, the scale of the environmental conditions laid down and why my decision was a right and proper one."