Plans for £65m ho­tel on north coast pulled

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY EMMA DEIGHAN

Cou­ple be­hind dun luce re­sort and spa plan to sub­mit new de­signs for a more mod­est £30 m lux­ury de­vel­op­ment

THE cou­ple be­hind a £65m ho­tel on the north coast have with­drawn their plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion and said they plan to sub­mit new de­signs for a more mod­est project.

Minka and Gavin Boyd, of North Coast Ven­tures Lim­ited, orig­i­nally planned to open Dun­luce Re­sort and Spa — a 115-room venue with 14 pen­t­house apart­ments, three de­tached vil­las and a fur­ther 48 apart­ments — ahead of next year’s Open golf tour­na­ment.

But the cou­ple have with­drawn their ap­pli­ca­tion and said they will pro­pose a new set of plans for a £30m lux­ury ho­tel.

The lo­ca­tion for the new Dun­luce Re­sort and Spa is the same place as be­fore — a 10-acre site be­tween the Bal­ly­macrea Road and Dun­luce Road. It over­looks Royal Portrush Golf Club, to­wards the Gi­ant’s Cause­way and the hills of Done­gal on the Inishowen Penin­sula.

Mr Boyd, di­rec­tor of the firm, said: “We have lis­tened to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the feed­back we have re­ceived dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion process. To­day’s move demon­strates that we un­der­stand those con­cerns and ac­cept that the ini­tial plans out­lined weren’t ap­pro­pri­ate.

“We still firmly be­lieve that the north coast is an area which needs higher-qual­ity ac­com­mo­da­tion and a greater num­ber of ho­tel rooms. With this in mind, we in­tend to sub­mit new plans early in the new year, work­ing along­side a new pro­fes­sional team. Con­sul­ta­tions about our new plans will be com­pre­hen­sive and we in­tend to learn from our ex­pe­ri­ence over the last num­ber of months.”

Mrs Boyd, also di­rec­tor at North Coast Ven­tures Lim­ited, added: “We know that this area is spe­cial for so many peo­ple in North­ern Ire­land. We have al­ways said that it is our in­ten­tion to be sen­si­tive to the nat­u­ral land­scape and lis­ten to the feed­back of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. We feel that to­day’s move demon­strates we are do­ing ex­actly that. We want to at­tract more tourists to the north coast by set­ting a new stan­dard for ac­com­mo­da­tion. We look for­ward to re­veal­ing more de­tails in 2019 and con­sult­ing very closely with the lo­cal com­mu­nity from the very start of that process.”

When plans were sub­mit­ted for the orig­i­nal Dun­luce Re­sort last year, they re­ceived around 400 hun­dred ob­jec­tions.

Com­mu­nity group, Fu­ture North Coast, was one of the groups to ob­ject. Chris Clarke, spokesman at the group, wel­comed the news.

He said: “At Fu­ture North Coast, we wel­come sus­tain­able tourism de­vel­op­ment to en­hance the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence to our north coast. We are pleased at this an­nounce­ment, ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­por­tance of sym­pa­thetic de­vel­op­ment on our coast­line. This means that our world-renowned Cause­way Coastal Route will re­tain its unique char­ac­ter for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike.”

Speak­ing to the Belfast Tele­graph ear­lier this year about the ob­jec­tions, Mrs Boyd said: “We know it’s near and dear to the heart of peo­ple in North­ern Ire­land. You don’t build some­thing this size and not ex­pect an amount of in­ter­est and po­ten­tially con­cern.”

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