Councillors are backing calls for the Game of Thrones TV set to be left at Magheramorne Quarry as a tourist attraction after filming wraps.
The local site, which is owned by Lafarge Tarmac, doubles as The Wall and the Wildling village of Hardhome in HBO’s hit fantasy TV series.
The call for the local sets to remain follows the tourism boost enjoyed by New Zealand after the sets used to film the Lord of the Rings trilogy were left in situ when filming wrapped.
Tours of Hobbiton, Rivendell and Isengard have become a major selling point for the country’s tourism industry.
Meanwhile, The Wall is likely to feature heavily in Game of Thrones’ forthcoming season, after fan favourite Jon Snow appeared to be murdered there at the end of series five and with the Army of the Dead marching on it in a bid to take over Westeros.
Larne Lough DUP Councillor Gordon Lyons commented: “I absolutely think we should retain the set.
“I have been surprised at how popular the show has become and from the road you can’t see much but you do see people with cameras trying to get shots.
“I think when the show finishes it would be a great idea to open the set up to the public.
“Growing the economy is council’s number one objective and tourism is one untapped resource.
“This would give us something extra and it’s something that as a council we would be foolish not to take notice of.”
Alliance Councillor Robert Logan also voiced his support for the scheme.
“It would seem to be a good idea if they left the set and it would be a big tourist draw, it would be something to use for tourists to come to Northern Ireland,” he stated.
“The quarry is owned by Lafarge and it would be up to them to decide.
“It could help put Larne more on the international map.”
Coast Road UUP Councillor Maureen Morrow said that the development of the site as a tourism location would be good if the show continued to prove popular in the long-term.
“If the site continues to be as successful it would be great, but an assessment must be made at that time,” she stated.
However, when asked by the Larne Times if Tourism Northern Ireland would be urging HBO to leave behind its sets after the series finishes filming, a spokeswoman stated: “Any decision to leave behind sets would be taken independently by HBO.”
The spokeswoman also remained tight-lipped when questioned if there were any plans to use other areas around Larne, Carrick or Newtownabbey for filming the forthcoming series, simply saying: “This is a decision for the production company HBO.”
A spokesperson for Lafarge Tarmac stated: “We are committed to creating opportunities and investment in the local area and will continue to work with HBO regarding the use of our site.”