Unan­swered ques­tions

The Arran Banner - - News -

Sir, Hav­ing lived, worked, and now hav­ing my own busi­ness on the is­land, I read your ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment at the McLaren Ho­tel in the Satur­day May 19 edi­tion with great in­ter­est.

The site, for­merly an at­trac­tive and pop­u­lar 30-bed­room ho­tel, restau­rant and bar, has sadly been al­lowed to fall into dis­re­pair. Not a great first im­pres­sion for vis­i­tors and an eye­sore for the rest of us.

A new fa­cil­ity is to be wel­comed, how­ever, the scale of this pro­posed de­vel­op­ment con­cerns me greatly. It will to­tally dom­i­nate the seafront. Park­ing, which is al­ready a prob­lem with the new ter­mi­nal – in­creased traf­fic flow, etc, will be made more dif­fi­cult.

The po­ten­tial of 97 rooms brings the pos­si­bil­ity of at least 60 cars per night dur­ing April to Oc­to­ber and the 30 or 40 staff men­tioned will also need spa­ces as no staff ac­com­mo­da­tion is pro­vided. Non-res­i­dents us­ing the restau­rant are likely to bring cars as well which brings us to the 150 ad­di­tional spa­ces that are men­tioned in the ap­pli­ca­tion (along the front). Peo­ple from out­ly­ing vil­lages park on the seafront if catch­ing the ferry as foot pas­sen­gers and it is used by cam­per vans and so I worry slightly.

The ef­fect of the ap­proved plans for ad­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion at The Douglas on traf­fic/car park­ing we ob­vi­ously don’t know yet, but this will also im­pact on the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

Re­gard­ing vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion on the is­land, I feel it is nec­es­sary to point out that, in ad­di­tion to the two main ho­tels men­tioned in the ap­pli­ca­tion, there are quite a few other large ho­tels as well as guest houses, bed and break­fasts and an in­creas­ing num­ber of hol­i­day lets/sec­ond homes of­fer­ing a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion. Many in­di­vid­u­als have reg­is­tered and make a liv­ing through Air B&B (cur­rently more than 100) of­fer­ing a lo­cal ‘vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence’ and many cater­ing for the budget trav­eller.

The new jobs, train­ing, etc are great but will these jobs pro­vide se­cure, good, all-year round em­ploy­ment, which is cru­cial to those try­ing to live and work on the is­land?

Yes, over the sum­mer months ac­com­mo­da­tion is at a pre­mium, but do we need 97 bed­rooms?

Are these go­ing to op­er­ate over the win­ter months? (I know it is not vi­able for us to open and we are a small busi­ness).

There are many unan­swered ques­tions as yet.


Caro­line Lo­gan Brod­ick

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