by Q Radio News
Plans for a multi-million pound hotel in Portrush have been given the green light.
The development at the former Londonderry Hotel was originally recommended for refusal due to concerns raised by the Historical Environment Division.
However, Causeway Coast and Glens Councillors overturned the decision last night and voted in favour of the 87 bed site, with the hope of it "positively transforming" the economy and job prospects of the seaside town.
Mayor of the Borough, Councillor Brenda Chivers has welcomed the development and says she hopes work gets underway soon, to support local jobs:
Speaking after the meeting Rajech Rana, the director of Andras Hotels who submitted the plans said, “We are absolutely over the moon with today’s outcome and would like to thank the Councillors for reviewing our revised proposals and recognising the huge tourism benefit and economic investment we are seeking to deliver for Portrush and wider Causeway Coast area.
“The councillors acknowledged our commitment to retaining the history of the site and important architectural features which will be preserved along with artefacts, pictures and stories – which will be a true celebration of the area for locals and visitors to enjoy.
“The hotel concept will reflect the heritage of this important site and will retain and preserve the historic features.
"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the entire development is an asset to this wonderful seaside town.
“We look forward to now commencing work on the hotel and should which should be on schedule to open its doors in 2021.”
(Artist impression for new hotel in Portrush)
The project is set to regenerate the area and will contribute an estimated £1.4million each year to the local economy.
It will create 48 jobs during the construction phase, adding a further £4.8million to the Causeway Coast and Glens area and an additional 41 new jobs when the hotel opens.
It's understood the project will attract a further 6,600 visitors to the North Coast per annum.
Brian Kelly, Director at Turley, the Planning Consultancy who acted on behalf of Andras Hotels said: “Today marks the culmination of almost two years of hard work in partnership with Consarc Design and the wider team.
“We are absolutely delighted that the Council took the decision to approve the proposed application which will respect the balance of the heritage of the listed building with a viable hotel for Portrush.
"We now look forward to the construction phase of the development which will provide over 48 jobs over the next 2 years.”
Andras Hotels was founded in Belfast in 1981 and since then has helped to shape and drive the tourism and hospitality landscape of Belfast. It currently operates five internationally-branded hotels with 1,000 beds in in Belfast; Holiday Inn® Express, Holiday Inn®, Belfast City Centre, two Ibis Hotels, the Crowne Plaza and Hampton by Hilton Hotel.